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    Deep in our hearts, we long to be significant. We want our life to matter. We want our presence here to mean something. This is not some self-seeking maneuver to be in the spotlight, but to ensure that our time on earth was used effectively to bless others and bring glory to God. However, in a world of over six billion people, it’s hard to feel very significant or to think you’ve made much of an impact with your life!

    As our understanding of the enormity of the universe expands, we find it even harder to believe that our presence means much in the scheme of things — after all, we’re just one person, from a small blue planet, in the middle of such an enormous and unfathomable universe. Stack on top of this the culturally entrenched assumption that human beings are only a chance distillation of random genetic mutations scattered over billions of years, and it’s easy to become convinced that we struggle with significance and sanctity of human life.

    The Bible, of course, is full of affirmations that God knows us personally. If God knows about falling sparrows and the number of the hairs on our head, then surely he knows us individually (Matthew 10:29-31). But how do we existentially experience this truth? How do we move our knowledge down from our head to the core of our souls? How do we silence the voice of insignificance that screams in our heart when life is tough and doubt colors each breath?

    That’s where the Psalms can come to the rescue. While we may intellectually accept the proclamations of Scripture that we are important to God, we often need to experience this truth. The Psalms are a collection of Spirit-inspired prayers, praises, complaints, and cries for help. They cover the gamut of human emotions. Most importantly of all, they give us words to let our current emotional and physical conditions find articulation before God and with others. We can be honest with God in the presence of others while being connected to the great line of faithful witnesses who have said these words before. In addition, we get to say many of these Psalms from a first person perspective, driving home the point that these are not just community truths, they are personal realities as well.

“The Lord is MY shepherd... he leads ME... even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. ...your rod and your staff comfort ME.” “Your hand will guide ME, your right hand will hold Me fast... you created MY inmost being; you knit Me together in MY mother’s womb... Search ME, O God, and know MY heart...”

God wants our relationship with him to be personal, genuine, and honest.
    These incredibly honest and personal words from Psalms 23 and 139 are just a small taste of what the Psalms offer us. This God-approved songbook allows us to personally worship. The Psalms remind us that God wants our relationship with him to be personal, genuine, and honest as we reverently approach him in faith.

    We are not just part of a herd or a flock, but we are known to God personally by name (John 10:3, 14). He has chosen to come live inside us by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-19) and to give us specific gifts to bless his people (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12; Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4). Even in those moments when we can’t articulate what is on our hearts, he uses this powerful Presence in us to intercede with “sighs too deep for words” conveying our needs “according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

    So if you catch yourself wondering about your significance, I encourage you to open up God’s songbook, the Psalms. Begin to read looking for the words that give your heart a voice. As you read, let God remind you that he knows your heart and longs to remind you that you have significance as his child — a child he knows, loves, and in whom he lives.

    Oh yeah, one final thing. If you are personally significant to God, then he’s got a plan and purpose for you. So don’t just sit there. Significant people do signifant things to bless others and glorify God. When they do, they experience God’s presence and their own significance by being used for his glory.

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A full archive of past articles by Phil Ware is maintained. Access recent articles The Believer's Atheism, Why So Hard?, and dozens more.
See Also...
Related Heartlight Resources:
Am I a Polar Bear?
A Part of His Story
Slam Dunk Significance

About the Author...
Phil Ware is minister of the Word at Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas. For the past 4 years, he has also been co-editor of HEARTLIGHT Magazine. For more details, click here.

Title: "Significance"
Author: Phil Ware
Publication Date: April 3, 2000



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