If you turned on the television or picked up print media just one time this past year there is a high probability that you heard about some type of “existential” threat that was looming on the horizon. According to the reports, impending doom could come from any number of sources: climate change, gun violence, or a political party. All of these threats (and many, many others) were followed up by being labeled as an “existential threat.” The term was so over used that Dictionary.com chose “existential” as its word of the year. Citing the number of times the word was searched for and its continued use and application to just about every subject of our life this year. They write, “existential also inspires us to ask big questions about who we are and what our purpose is in the face of our various challenges—and it reminds us that we can make choices about our lives in how we answer those questions.” https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-year/ It’s not surprising that the word was selected nor a surprise at how the choice has been embraced by the media. CNN chose to spin the choice of word as a reflection of all that is out there trying to harm us. It is a gloom and doom report that leaves no hope for us unless we give up fossil fuels and impeach Trump. https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/03/us/word-of-the-year-dictionary-2019-trnd/index.html
For the Christian, however, we know that the root of the threat is not existential but internal. The greatest threat facing all people is our own personal sin. From the Fall in the Garden of Eden until this very day the one force working strongest against the individual human is his or her inability to suppress that internal voice and struggle we all must deal with. What the world has conveniently done is given us an existential excuse to not take responsibility for our own short comings. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and we still try to use “the devil made me do it” as an excuse. Paul struggled with this very thing and was brave enough to admit it. In the book of Romans he addresses this internal struggle we must all come to grips with. He writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I admit that the law is good. In that case, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:15-17
It’s in our very nature to look for existential explanations for the issues of our day. In all truth, God has given us the starting point to finding peace. Until we deal with personal sin through confession and a relationship with the Lord Jesus we will never find the right word to describe what’s happening around us. It’s what’s going on inside that needs our attention.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Serving the Savior
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