The Measure of Significance

We live in a society that promotes self-grandeur and instant gratification through social media, TV ads, and billboards in almost every space possible. Have you ever looked at an advert so many times that you start thinking, “I really need that product, and I need to get it now before it’s gone.” 

But, after buying it, you realise you didn’t really need it. What happened is you’ve fallen into the trap of confused or impulse spending. Or perhaps you entertain the thought that “If I can only own this product or wear this brand of clothing, people would think more highly of me, and I’d feel better about myself.” 

Many assume that significance is about being famous, rich or possessing expensive things, only to end up falling into the trap of compensatory spending by buying things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. The truth is – people don’t think of us as much as we think they do! 

Happiness in this world is gained by getting others’ approval or things that we want. But this kind of happiness is short-lived. The culture in our society today goes wild in following our appetites. Why not ‘Just Do It!’ Appetites run wild and spiral out of control. But, uncontrolled appetites can never be appeased. 

We could be hungry and eat now, only to grow hungry again. If we buy something to fill our insecurity, we’ll be insecure again. People don’t stay happy, and they keep searching. Many go by the principle ‘If I want it, I deserve it, then it should be mine’. Accountability to God doesn’t go well with society today. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of morsel, as a result of yielding to his unbridled appetite. 

1 Timothy 6:6 tells us, ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain.’ There can be contentment in all things. The Apostle Paul says that he can be contented, to abound and to be abased in all circumstances because he has learnt to walk in obedience to the faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 1:5; 16:26). He learned how to love Jesus more than anything else. 

When Jesus is our priority, we live out of our identity in Christ instead of peoples’ expectations or the monetary value of possessions. Things in the world are fleeting, but things of the Kingdom of God are eternal. This is a sober reminder that the yardstick for significance in life is to love God and to love people.

The world is constantly trying to define success and failure for us. Truth is, either way, we’re going to be judged – whether we live a life based on God’s standards or people’s expectations. We don’t have to have ‘it’ to impress anyone; we don’t have to have ‘it’ to say we have it. And we don’t have to have ‘it’ to make ourselves feel better. 

As A. W. Tozer puts it, ‘No matter how insignificant he may have been before, a man becomes significant the moment he has had an encounter with the Son of God. When the Lord lays His hand upon a man, that man ceases at once to be ordinary. He immediately becomes extraordinary, and his life takes on cosmic significance.’


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