Just a few days ago, I sat in a local coffee shop ready to dive into another session of pre-marital counseling. My fiancé and I were mere weeks away from getting married, and we had been trying to spend a lot of time and energy on preparing for the marriage more than the wedding day! Our pastor, Tim, had been meeting with us and getting us ready for this new chapter in our lives. So on this particular day, when Tim pulled out his iPad and began illustrating the “metaphor that changed his life”, I knew I was about to see something special. Today I’m bringing you in on this session with the hope that it might change your life too. 🙌
Everybody wants something. In fact, we’ve been brought up to want and want and WANT since the day we were born! There are hundreds (and thousands) of voices in our world whispering all day long what we can and should want: beauty, money, approval, education, you name it! If you have it, then you are a success. If you don’t, then it stinks to be you. Whatever it is that fills in that blank, THAT is what makes up your identity and self-worth. Which leads me to the seesaw.
Here’s an example of what you’re looking at. Let’s say that two guys named Jimmy and Jack both grow up in families that highly esteem wealth. In Jimmy’s family, money has never been an issue. His father is a corporate success and let’s not even MENTION the size of Jimmy’s trust fund! On the other hand, Jack’s family thinks money is just as important as Jimmy’s family, but Jack’s parents are divorced and his mom barely makes enough to scrape by. Who do you think sits where on this seesaw? If money is the standard, then Jimmy is “king of the hill” so to speak. He will walk out into the world with a lot of confidence and pride, while Jack creeps along with some major fear and insecurity. From Jimmy’s “lofty” position, he tends to see Jack through a lens of DISDAIN, while Jack can only look on Jimmy with ENVY from rock bottom. This can be applied to whatever fills the blank:
Beauty: Jenny is a tall, slender, and incredibly attractive girl while Kate is short, on the heavier side, and has bad acne. Jenny is proud, confident, and looks on Kate with Disdain. Kate is insecure and fearful of others and looks on Jenny with envy.
Education: Phil has his MA and is currently going for a PHD at an Ivy League school. Doug barely made his way through high school and never got into college. Phil sits at the top of the seesaw while Doug slumps at the bottom.
Approval: Christine is an Instagram superstar. She has well over 100K followers, and her audience loves everything she says and does! On the other hand, Rachel can’t seem to gain much online approval, and no one seems to pay much attention to anything she has to say. Christine is at the top, Rachel is at the bottom.
If you know anything about seesaws, you know that what once was up will soon come back down again. If all of the people mentioned above for their money, beauty, etc. were to suddenly meet another human with even greater levels of success, they would plummet down to the fear and insecurity of rock bottom. And I gotta break it to ya, there will ALWAYS be someone richer, prettier, smarter, and more likable than you!! This brings us to a vital truth for all of life, the fact that there are only two categories of everything in existence: that which was created, and the uncreated One. Money, beauty, education, etc. are all CREATED entities. They have a beginning and an end, which means, they will ultimately fail anyone who puts their hope in them. But don’t lose heart! There is really good news up ahead…
If you look closely at the seesaw illustration, you’ll see that it is balanced on a big “I” in the center. Although this stands for “I” as in “ME”, it also stands for “Idol”. When our life is built around a created thing, it quickly becomes and IDOL, which tosses us from one end of the seesaw to the other. However, when we form our meaning around the uncreated One, the God and King of all things, we are met with a foundation and Cornerstone that cannot fail.
Here is a nutshell version of the Gospel: Before Jesus and his death on the cross, we were running around trying to uphold an impossible standard of holiness that God rightfully established for our good and His glory. We were separated from God, the truest Lover of our soul, by our disease of sin. The only way for us to become worthy of standing in God’s holy presence was for something or Someone to take the punishment meant for us. So Jesus came down, died on the cross, and provided a way for us to be made clean and holy before God Almighty. Now, not only are we clean before God, we can also call him FATHER! Wow! (Be sure to contact me if you want to know more about how all of this works. 🙂) Now, as our Cornerstone, the Cross balances out our view of ourselves and others…
Our wealthy Jimmy now has humility instead of pride. After all, if Christ had to die in order to save Jimmy, then how wretched was Jimmy’s situation? Jimmy now knows that he is no better than ANYONE else. On the other hand, destitute Jack now faces the world with new found security! Because just as Jesus had to die for Jack, he also WANTED to die for Jack. He loved Jack enough to lay down his life for him, which means that Jack is no WORSE than anyone else, including Jimmy.
Jenny is no better than Kate, because Jesus HAD to die for them both.
Kate is no worse than Jenny, because Jesus WANTED to die for them both.
Phil is no better than Doug.
Doug is no worse than Phil.
Christine is no better than Rachel.
Rachel is no worse than Christine.
All of a sudden, we have a foundation for LOVE and RELATIONSHIP with both God AND each other! Goodbye seesaw, hello cornerstone!
Moving Onward and Upward
I’m not going to lie, this illustration left me speechless. All of a sudden, life looks just a little clearer and a little brighter! The idols that falsely promised fulfillment have been put in their rightful place, and now the Cross makes up the foundation for a truly fulfilled life. So let this be a gentle but firm reminder for you: if you continue to place your identity in created things that will ultimately fail you, then your life will be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, pride and fear, disdain and envy. Only the cross can bring balance to your identity! I hope this post has encouraged you to forsake the seesaw of the world and adopt the Cornerstone of Christ. 🙂