Last week I wrote about Five Important Things to remember during our days on this earth. If we remember God, God’s reign, God’s glory, God’s invitation, and God’s grace, it can radically transform the way we live in the here and now.
I was inspired (and challenged) by the voices of those in great multitude, found in Revelation 19:6-8. Remember, these people have concluded their broken, earthly existence and now reside eternally with God. That means they see with clarity and value with purity what God sees and what God values.
By eavesdropping on what they have to say, we can receive the grace to see and hear where we're so blind and deaf. Here's one of those areas where we need help:
1. Value Clarification
Human beings are value-oriented. That means we assign value to people, places, objects and ideas and rearrange our behavior, schedule and finances to pursue those things that we have named as valuable. Our hopes and dreams are shaped by what we value. We find our identity in how successful (or unsuccessful) we are in pursuing those values.
There’s nothing wrong with being value-oriented; that’s the way God created us. Animals were designed to live by instinct; humans were designed to live with values.
However, we weren't created to define our own values. Since we were created in God's image (Genesis 1:26), we were created to live under God's value system. But because of sin, we stray from those values, and humanity has been in trouble ever since.
You could argue that every single act of hurtful behavior in the history of the world has been a result of an incorrect value system. The evidence is everywhere: we need our values clarified.
Let’s read the song of the great multitude again:
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure." (Revelation 19:6-8)
Notice what they’re NOT celebrating:
- I was the most beautiful, most intelligent, and most popular person.
- I was married to the most beautiful, most intelligent, and most popular person.
- I had kids who were successful in 3 sports and won scholarships to the best colleges.
- I climbed the corporate ladder faster than any of my colleagues.
- I was always being recognized as the most successful individual in my department.
- I bought such a comfortable house and lived in such a great neighborhood.
- I had season tickets on the 50-yard-line during that Super Bowl season.
- I spent each summer at the sweetest vacation spots.
- I always wined and dined at the finest restaurants in the city.
If you follow my teaching, you should know that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with financial success or business renown. I also think there's plenty of evidence in Scripture that reveals God's desire to see his children enjoy the pleasure and comfort of the created world (as long as the heart is worshiping properly).
But, when we listen to the voices of those on the other side, they’re not celebrating success, renown, comfort and pleasure; they’re celebrating those Five Important Things:
- What God wanted was more important than what we wanted.
- What God decided was more important than our career path.
- What God received glory for was more important than our popularity.
- What God named as good was better than what we thought was good.
- What God brought into our life was more fulfilling than a lifestyle of comfort.
A Call To Remember
I write these Articles for several reasons, but perhaps one of the most significant reasons is because you and I are amnesiacs. We're forgetful people. Another way of saying that is to echo Robert Robinson’s hymn – “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”
Today, would you humbly admit with me that you forget what’s truly important? Would you be willing to re-evaluate your priorities once more? Would you confess that your values need to be clarified, not just once more, but every single day?
Thankfully, God has given us his Word to remind us. He has provided us with thousands of reminders, scattered through the pages of Scripture.
On top of that, God has lavished us with grace: enabling grace to choose the right values, forgiving grace when we fail, and and perhaps my favorite - the grace of future completion (Philippians 1:6).
There will be a day when you and I, like the great multitude, will see Christ face to face and forever have our values clarified. Until then, we need all the grace God provides.