All of us in this life, no matter how much we hate to admit it, have problems. Many times things just don’t seem to go the way we think they should. These ‘circumstantial’ problems, however, are only one area of need. There are also our own personal problems, weaknesses or faults. Then we have problems with our relationships with other people. Then there is also the problems of the world we live in such as poverty, crime, inflation, war, famine, etc.
What I would like to address in this paper is your problems. It’s a very good chance that you have some right now . . . or will have in the very near future. How do you deal with your problems? When we become Christians, the most natural thing for us to do is to ask God to help us with our problems. We all know, of course, that Christians have just as many problems as unbelievers OR MORE! But how do we as “Christ-persons” handle these problem? Usually, ninety-nine percent of the time, we do the same thing that we did before we were Christians except that now we ask God to help us (or pray). Then we zero in on the problem at hand and start figuring out possible solutions. (We learn to do this in school, by the way) This is usually the steps that we will go through.
1. Correctly Analyze the Problem. It’s going to be difficult to come up with a solution if you don’t really know what the problem is. So step one is to analyze and get to the root of the problem. In order to do this, we need to put all of our focus on the problem. Let’s use a sample problem to illustrate this.
The problem is to connect all four dots together using three straight lines without crossing the lines or lifting your pen. Your first step is to focus on the problem. This is how we handle all of our problems.
Focus on the problem in order to find a solution
2. Step Two – We experiment with possible solutions.
(As you will discover, there are no solutions to this problem using this method)
3. Step Three – Usually we then select one of the possible solutions as being “The Lord’s Will.” ‘Eenie, Meenie, Minee, Mo’ seems to be appropriate here!
The problem with this problem is that it has no solution within the problem itself!
YOU MUST GO OUTSIDE OF THE PROBLEM IN ORDER TO SOLVE IT!
This teaches us a great lesson which most Christians have not learned.
GOD HAS NO SOLUTIONS FOR YOUR PROBLEMS!
In fact, He doesn’t even move in the realm of solutions. God does things totally different from the way that we do things. We use a method or technique to solve a problem. God uses no methods. We figure that the best way to solve the problem is by focusing all of our attention on the problem. God says that the only hope is to look away from the problem to another place. That place is a Person. THE PERSON OF HIS SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
God has no solutions, only a Person.
That Person is His Son.
If we will only learn to focus on Him, then God will take care of the problem. This cuts very deeply across the grain of our natural reasoning. You see, dear brother or sister, your hope is not to be found within your problem. You must go outside of your problem to seek an all together different realm.
Now you might be thinking that I’m referring to “mind over matter.” If you will just take your mind off of the problem, then it will go away, or at least you won’t be so worried about it. Not so. This is not a negative, this is a positive. You take your attention off of the problem in order to put it on Christ. He becomes your focal point and center. It’s as if all of your problems are on a window of glass and the Lord is standing right outside of the window. You need to look through the glass, beyond the problems, to see your Lord.
Well you may be asking; does this really work? After all, is this practical? Well, what is the most practical problem that you can think of? How about money and possessions? That’s pretty practical. Jesus Christ said that if you seek (search, look to find) another realm (God’s kingdom, who is Christ) then He would take care of all of your material needs. In other words; if you look to see Christ, then God will take care of your problem. This is tremendous! ALL NEEDS FULFILLED IN CHRIST!
Now I can hear some of you saying that this sounds like I am abdicating abandonment of your responsibilities. Are we supposed to neglect our problems in order to fellowship with Christ in another realm?
You see beholding the Lord is the most responsible thing we can do.
The Centrality of Jesus Christ
When you read the life of Jesus Christ in the Gospels you find that He was continually beholding the face of His Father. Jesus said He only spoke and did the works which He saw the Father do. He was not “looking” at people’s problems or needs, He was looking at the Father and then responded according to what the Father said or did.
If we will develop the practice of continually focusing on Christ, then we will be able to see Him move and hear Him speak. It’s a lot easier to hear someone speak if you are looking at them, isn’t it? If there is something we need to do about our problem, then the Lord will let us know WHILE WE ARE LOOKING AT HIM. Our response to what He shows us is simply part of our fellowship with Him. If we keep focusing on our problems and then coming up with “solutions,” we are merely using band-aids for temporary remedies.
THE ONLY LASTING SOLUTIONS COME AS WE BEHOLD THE LORD
This is not easy for us because we are not Christ-centered people. We are “thing” centered people. A problem is only another thing. We need to come to the realization that God’s only program is a Person, not a thing. Our only hope is to get to know this Person. It’s not what we know but Who we know that counts. When I say ‘know’ the Lord, I’m speaking of a very deep and intimate knowledge, knowledge which is based on personal experience.
I read the following saying once on a poster I saw in a store: “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off of the goal.” This really impacted me because I immediately saw Christ as my goal. When I take my eyes off of Christ, then I will see my problems and begin to ‘sink’ into them. Isn’t this the lesson for us in the story of Jesus calling Peter out of the boat? As long as Peter was looking at the Lord, he could walk above the waves (problems). But as soon as he focused on the waves, he began to sink into them. The key is focusing on Christ. Now you will notice that even though Peter could walk on water (as long as he focused on Christ), the waves were still there! Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that when you focus on Christ, God will remove all of your problems. In fact, some of your problems may never be removed. You may need some of those problems! God never removed Paul’s thorn in the flesh. But He said that His grace was sufficient. Christ is our grace. Christ is our sufficiency. We don’t focus on the Lord in order to get rid of all our problems. We focus on the Lord because we love Him! We focus on Christ because He is so glorious, and marvelous, and awesome! We focus on Christ because He is the most beautiful person in all of creation and eternity!
Now as we learn to put Christ at the center we must remember a very important point. WE CANNOT PUT ANYTHING ELSE AT THE CENTER WITH HIM. It must be HIM ALONE! If we try to mix in anything along with Christ, the thing we add will cancel out any benefit of Christ to us. This is the lesson we learn from the Galatians. They didn’t try to abandon Christ. They just added the Law to Christ. When you do that, Christ can no longer benefit you. You see, Christ and only Christ is what you need. You cannot dilute Christ, therefore, when you add something else to Him, the Father removes Christ from the situation and you’re only left with the “thing” which you added. That thing is not Christ. A simple mathematical formula might help to explain the.
Christ + 0 = redemption
Christ + 0 = freedom in Christ
Christ + 0 = peace (because Christ is all these things)
Christ + 0 = love
But if we change the formula, something happens.
Christ + Law = Law (only)
Christ + Works = works (only)
Christ + Love = love (human)
You get the point? The “thing” will cancel out Christ.
Christ must not only be the center,
HE MUST BE THE ALL
Now the Father’s purpose does not end with Christ becoming our all. There is more. God wants Christ to be the All in us, not just in you! God’s goal is a corporate Christ where Jesus is the Head and we are the Body. This means that we focus on Christ together, not just individually. Each member of the Body needs to have a revelation that Christ lives in them. Each one needs to take Christ as their all. In this way, God’s purpose and heart will be satisfied.
CHRIST AS THE ALL IN ALL!