RPM, Volume 20, Number 42, October 14 to October 20, 2018

Never Turn Any Created Thing Into Your Personal Messiah

By Paul David Tripp

You will never turn any created thing into your personal messiah. There is one true Messiah, and life can be found only in him.

I wish I could say that I never look for life where it can't be found, but the temptation to do this still haunts me. As much as we all know that there is only one true God, we still hunt for God-replacements. We all still tend to look horizontally for what we will only ever find vertically. There are times when we ask creation to be our Savior:

1. We attach our identity to the respect of another.
2. We draw too much of our sense of well-being from our physical appearance.
3. We think material possessions have the power to make us happy.
4. We attach our meaning and purpose to our achievements.
5. We ask our jobs to make us content.
6. We try to base our identity on our children.
7. We attach our sense of spiritual well-being to the "perfect" church.
8. We base our identity on our education.
9. We ask our spouses to make us happy.
10. We look to food and drink to satisfy and calm us.
11. We continually say, "If only I had _____, then my life would be _____."
12. We attach our identity to the luxury of our cars or the affluence of our neighborhoods.

The list is really endless. There is nothing in creation that you can't try to turn into your personal messiah, but it never, ever works. The creation can never, ever give you what the Creator alone can. It makes no sense at all to desperately look for what you have already been given by your Savior.

All the good and glorious created things that God puts in our lives are things he has designed and placed there to point us to the only place where life can ever be found—in him. All created things are signs that point us to what can be found in him. You know how this works from driving around or from taking a trip: a sign points you to a thing, but the sign is not the thing. Creation points us to the Creator, but it can never give us what the Creator can give. All the good situations, locations, possessions, relationships, achievements, and natural beauties of this physical world are wonderful blessings from the hand of God, but they have no ability to give you the one thing that your heart desperately desires—life. Jesus said it this way: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). With these words, he ends our need to search. He is life, so there is no need to look for it anywhere else.

For further study and encouragement: Psalm 115

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.