In Search of Significance

We all want a life that matters – even if it only matters to ourselves. Think about it – even if you attempted to live a pointless life, such an undertaking would invariably take on a purposefulness of its own, otherwise it couldn’t be sustained. Just think of the most unambitious, random person you know – who appear to be making things up as they go along. But unavoidably their days will be filled with choices they will make, based on some contrived criterion — one that differentiates what matters most to them, from what they assume to be either contrary or inconsequential to the life they want to live . . . a life that matters, at least to them.

Our anthropological impulse is to somehow reconcile our own personal sense of meaning, with how we perceive our significance within our community and culture. In this way, all of our choices are given a context – determining how much connection (or disconnection) should exist between ourselves and others . . . so that within our proximity to others we might experience some sense of our shared significance. This very often becomes the driving force behind our inclination to seek a tribal identity – an identity from which we borrow the pretense of a greater significance and a practical sense of belonging.

We are contingent beings, which is to say we are not self-existing, we require an ontological context – in this regard, we can only find our significance within this context. I only bring this up because we live in a culture that invites us to find our significance in the perpetual reinventing of ourselves – while it simultaneously insists we must conform to social expectations. And such a cognitively dissonant context is unsustainable, which is likely why we’re drawn to a disembodied imagining of our own existence – as if we only lived in our heads . . . unconstrained by material realities.

Historically speaking, such gnostic notions of meaning and significance have been around since the very beginning – since Adam and Eve assumed that they were capable of arbitrating good and evil . . . on their own terms. And ever since, we’ve all assumed we have the authority to determine our own significance and value – especially, when in comparison to others. And what a sad little game of make believe it is – pretending we matter simply because we say so. As if we could be self-existing as a matter of self-pronouncement.

We are created in the image of God, this is the ontological fountain of our immutable significance – in this regard, we are contingent upon God’s existence whether we want to accept it or not. This is why those who ardently deny the significance of God’s existence, are the ones who invariably find themselves at odds with the significance of their own existence. This is also what makes our faith confession essential to how we understand of ourselves – believing that the God who created us is still at work on us (Philippians 1:6) . . . and that makes us all pretty darn significant!

I am no longer a slave to fear — I am a child of God


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