Discover more from The Mustard Seed by McKay Caston
Ask These Two Questions Every Day
You said you wanted to change your life, right?
Wayne Cordiero, long-time pastor of New Hope Church in Oahu, tells the story of a discouraged Russian priest who, while taking a walk one evening, wandered upon a military installation.
When the priest approached the perimeter, a young, armed guard shouted, “Halt! Who are you and why are you here?”
The priest perked up and asked, "What did you say?”
With a degree of frustration, the soldier said slowly, "Who are you and why are you here?”
The priest asked, "How much do you get paid? Because I will pay you that much to ask me those same two questions every day.”
True story? I doubt it. But it addresses two of the most important ballast issues we need to have settled before stepping out of bed.
Who am I? This is the question of identity.
Why am I here? This is a question of purpose.
Knowing who I am as a disciple of Jesus begins with an awareness of my spiritual adoption in Christ.
By receiving Jesus’ substitutionary life, death, and resurrection as a gift, I am a fully forgiven, perfectly accepted, and dearly treasured child of the Father!
However, the flesh wants to smokescreen the cross from my view. Rather than the smile of the Father, it wants me to see a scowl of disappointment on his face. This is why asking “Who am I” in view of the cross is an autocorrect for the heart.
It’s a question we can ask morning, noon, and night as we live moment-by-moment with confidence in the present value of Jesus’ blood.
I do not need to live like a spiritual orphan, always wondering about my status in the eyes of others.
I can live before an audience of One, with peace and rest in God’s love and grace.
His eyes are the only ones that matter because his words are the only ones that get to define who I am.
The second question is one of purpose and is closely tied to identity.
“Why am I here?”
Remember the decision Dorothy had to make in the Wizard of Oz when she and Toto approach a fork in the road? The scarecrow’s exhortation gave her the nudge she needed.
“Take the yellow brick road!”
When we address the question of purpose, we have a similar decision to make, as there are only two roads before us at the fork.
One path is the pursuit to make much of me.
The other is the pursuit to make much of Jesus.
To make much of something is to honor it or shine a light on it as something to celebrate. Essentially, to make much of something is to glorify it.
The natural tendency of the flesh is to glorify me.
If I were to honestly analyze my conversations and social media accounts, I think I’d find a tendency to position myself in the best light possible. If I were to honestly analyze my heart, there would be no doubt how much I want to make much of me.
Why? Because I want others to make much of me—to glorify me.
But that’s not why I’m here.
That realization opens the door to a wonderful opportunity for repentance, where I’m invited to confess the vile motives of the flesh and welcome the renewed influence of the Spirit, who reveals the cross of Jesus afresh to my grace needy heart.
The flesh will leverage all the gifts and opportunities he’s provided for self-promotion. But now, in view of his massive mercies and glorious grace, what else can I do but make much of Jesus, leveraging all the gifts and opportunities he’s provided for his glory, magnifying him as Savior and Lord, King and Treasure.
Whether teaching a Bible study or building a bridge, changing diapers or doing taxes, fishing for bass or stacking shelves at Kroger, I can do it all to reflect his kindness to me as a child and his Lordship over all of life.
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
So, ask the two questions every morning, noon, and night.
Try it for seven days and see what happens.
Of course, this exercise will show you how dominant the flesh is. You’ll forget and realize how much you live to make much of self (whether from the root of pride or insecurity, which come from the same desire for others to make much of us).
Then you’ll have a new opportunity to repent and believe the gospel… again… and again… and again.
Eventually, you’ll find yourself asking those questions more than you expected. And joy, peace, and hope will bubble up in your heart.
All for his glory.