There exists in many minds, dreams of riches untold to be found by a lucky recipient. Such a fantasy rarely becomes a reality, but the small percentage of circumstances that culminate in unexpected affluence make treasure hunters out of most people (which is why so many tv shows showcasing treasure hunts are so successful, whether it be in the depths of the ocean, the depths of the pawn shops in Las Vegas, or the depths of storage lockers in California). Yet, there are a number of different types of treasures being sought after in today’s culture. Sometimes it is material riches, while others search for treasures of knowledge and/or wisdom, and some find the greatest treasure to be relationships with family and friends. While each of those carries its own facets and connotations, there is something remarkable about all treasure hunting: It lacks significance without Christ.
Without Christ, worldly riches have the propensity to lead to evil from a misaligned love (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10). Without Christ, the search for knowledge and wisdom yields hollow philosophies (cf. Proverbs 1:9; 9:10; & 1 Corinthians 1:30). Without Christ, relationships lack depth and legitimacy (i.e. cf. 1 John 4:8; Mark 12;30-31). In fact, the influences, incidents, and outcomes of one’s life are dependent upon one’s convictions about Christ. Thomas Watson reminds us that a godly person prizes Christ. Therefore, treasuring Christ is essential to the Christian life.
To say that I treasure Christ above all things is simplistic enough, but when was the last time any of us have thought about the meaning of such a declaration? For myself, the true significance of this proclamation is rarely combined with true meditation upon what I am professing by announcing Christ as my Savior, and thus my treasure. Without difficulty, many of us would say that treasuring Christ means placing His will and glory above our own. This is a truthful statement. However, the phrase is inadequate because it is so routinely disseminated and embraced that it carries little conviction. The reality is, when we place the Lord’s will above our own, it affects every aspect of who we are and what we do. Therefore, any activities that we choose to engage in, any actions we chose to employ, and any attitudes that we embrace in our lives should be ones that are indicative of what Christ desires for our life, who Christ is in our life, and what Christ has done in our life.
We would do well to examine our lives in such a way that seeks to elevate Christ more in our lives. We do so not in a defeating manner, but confident of His transformative work in our lives. For that examination, Thomas Watson proposes eight areas of deliberation that should lead to an honest evaluation of how high one esteem’s Christ:
- Are our judgments based upon Christ’s honor and not our own?
- Are we able to live without Christ (things we value we are not able to live without)?
- Are we willing to use our resources and paints to find Him as a gold digger searches for gold?
- Are we content in Him, finding joy in the most difficult of circumstances because he is the head of that joy?
- Are we willing to part with our dearest lusts for Christ?
- Are we willing to consider all costs as nothing too dear to us for the sake of living in Him?
- Are we willing to guide others towards Him?
- Are we content in Him during both sickness and health? (1)
Perhaps the greatest indictment comes upon consideration of John Piper’s line of questioning in God is the Gospel when he asks, “Would you be happy in heaven if Christ wasn’t there?”
In our concern for ourselves, we are quick to replace reverence for Christ with a reverence for self. However, outside of the will of Christ and God’s glory, true joy does not exist. Our greatest joy can be found only when we are finding our greatest joy in Him. We can hunt all the treasure we desire, but all value and luster are lost when Christ is not the greatest treasure of all.
(1) Each of these points comes from Thomas Watson’s writing The Godly Man’s Picture, Part IV, Section 7. However, I have taken his statements and turned them into questions, thus changing his wording somewhat. However, the conception is his and not mind.
Each week Tim Challies has been reading through a portion of The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson and then writing a response article based on those readings. I have been following along, sharing my own thoughts as well. You can read Tim Challies’ thoughts at challis.com. This week concludes sections 7-9 and you can read my previous posts by clicking the following links:
Photo “My God, So Pure and Undefiled” courtesy of user Coram Deo and Flickr.