As a child, I was fascinated by the game of Jenga. The game begins with a tower of rectangular pieces of wood, grouped in threes and then layered on top of one other. The successive layers of blocks sitting perpendicular to the layer below creates a sturdy tower. Each player has to remove one piece at his or her turn. After each round, the tower gets wobblier and increasingly unstable until it finally collapses.
Remembering this game got me thinking about our spiritual and physical lives and how we all try to maintain strength and focus in this unstable world. In our lives, if notable components of character are missing, we become vulnerable to spiritual collapse. To prevent decay, we need to remain grounded on the surest foundation in our physical and spiritual lives: Jesus Christ.
My Jenga Tower Was Wobbly
During my first few years of college, I was on incredibly shaky ground. I was living with strangers, hours away from the comforts of home. My high school friends and I were slowly drifting apart as our lives led us on more divergent paths. I was making new friends, but it always takes time to develop the trust that leads to a solid, lifelong friendship.
Meanwhile, my brain was soaking in information from my textbooks and classes as I sought to make the most of my education. Many of those concepts involved political agendas and philosophies that I was just beginning to recognize. Everything in my life seemed to be in a state of flux.
Thankfully, God chose that time to reach down and pluck me out of the chaos and set me on the solid ground of His calling. In every sense, He saved my life by continuing to pull my attention toward a more lasting education than what I found at school. And then, in the years to follow, He enriched my understanding of the respect He wants me to have toward Him and His Son. Christ is the focal point of our psychological, social and intellectual well-being. He wants us to “have life, and…have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 John 10:10The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
American King James Version×).
During college I became burned out on all the empty knowledge found in this world. I was hungering for something lasting. I had to turn to Christ, the Giver of truth (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
American King James Version×) and read His Word to stand strong.
It soon became easier and easier to filter out the “knowledge” that my professors clung to as truth. The more I studied God’s Word, the more I could identify the philosophical junk floating around in what I was learning, and it became easier to appreciate the truth in my studies where the knowledge was in alignment with what Christ taught.
Our Spiritual Foundation
Jesus Christ is the linchpin of our entire physical existence. Without Him our lives would have no meaning or purpose. Everything begins and ends with Him. We read, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible… All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17 Colossians 1:16-17 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
American King James Version×).
He created everything we see, hear, feel, taste and touch; and He made all the things that we cannot yet sense while we wait for our spiritual transformation. As the Life Application Study Bible puts it, Christ is “not only the Creator of the world, but He is also its Sustainer. In Him, everything is held together, protected, and prevented from disintegrating into chaos… None of us is independent from Him.” The various physical and mathematical laws that keep the entire universe in order originated in Him.
Most importantly, Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection offer us the chance to have a deep and rewarding spiritual life now. He gives us the ability to have a direct relationship with our Father (John 14:9-10 John 14:9-10 9 Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?
10 Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
American King James Version×) so that we can have an unbreakable, deep connection with all in the God family.
As John puts it, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20 1 John 5:20And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
American King James Version×). You can’t get any more stable than having a deep relationship with God.
As the Head of the Church, Christ provides direction and leadership to the body of believers (Colossians 1:18 Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
American King James Version×). Of all the parts of the body, the head knows the most and understands the fullest and has the clarity to direct all the actions of the body. We must look to Him for all guidance. By closing our prayers in His name, we receive a daily reminder that our lives and future are intimately connected to His life and future and that we need His leadership.
True Stability Found Through Christ
By firmly securing ourselves to a commitment to study and apply God’s Word in our lives, we will be able to move forward in our relationships with God and to withstand any trial thrown at us, no matter its intensity (Psalms 125:1 Psalms 125:1They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but stays for ever.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 10:25 Proverbs 10:25As the whirlwind passes, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
American King James Version×). That is a tremendous blessing! During those uncertain college years, I learned where to turn in order to find the security I craved.
God firmly stands behind His people and advises us to give Him our burdens (Psalms 55:22 Psalms 55:22Cast your burden on the LORD, and he shall sustain you: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
American King James Version×; Proverbs 10:30 Proverbs 10:30The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
American King James Version×). But it is still our responsibility to faithfully pursue righteousness by following His laws with the proper attitude (Psalms 119:172 Psalms 119:172My tongue shall speak of your word: for all your commandments are righteousness.
American King James Version×). By being “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” we are “storing up for [ourselves] a good foundation for the time to come, that [we] may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19 1 Timothy 6:18-19 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
American King James Version×).
Everything that we—with God, Christ and the Church—have built together stands strong! We must each live our lives in the full pursuit of Christ and His attitude, example and teachings. That is the only way to truly live both now and forever and to maintain the stability that we all so desperately need in this chaotic and spiritually empty world. UN
Debbie Werner is a member of the Portland, Oregon, congregation.