The Search for Significance

July 20th, 2010

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” Ps 8:3-5

It is the desire for significance that causes mankind to do many weird and inexplicable things. Without significance man is reduced from a created being to a highly complex organism that has evolved somehow from other single-celled organisms, swimming in a pond of primordial sludge. Thus the theory of evolution reduces the miracle of creation to millions of fantastic coincidences that are each next to impossible on the probability scale. As an evolved rather than created being, mankind has no more significance than a mutated turnip in a rotting compost patch!

Those who accept by unbelieving-faith the theory of evolution are thrust upon a tremendous dilemma. How can one reconcile the innate desire for significance with the mind-numbing belief that the human race simply “happened” by accident? Accidents only have purpose when one accepts providence. And providential events only happen with a decree from the God behind the curtain of chance. Without God, man has no purpose or he must find purpose through his own ingenuity.


This is where the unbelieving world struggles with the basic theosophical issues of life. Since life does not come with purpose attached, it is up to each living agent to seek and obtain purpose through the living of life. This leaves every human being on a potential collision course with other human beings who likewise are seeking to find significance. The train wreck happens when two people settle upon the same purpose and seek to travel the same path at the same time to achieve that identical purpose.

The atheists and evolutionists are not the only folks who collide in their quest for significance. I suggest to you that some Christian believers are prone to the same sort of train wreck with other individuals who are traveling along the same track. How can believers who understand their unique status as created souls ever have conflict over achieving and or maintaining significance? It is because many believers see significance as something that must be earned by achievement and accomplishment. The competitive environment that this creates pits brother against brother and sister against sister. Significance must be earned by outdoing another and claiming the top position. Believers become climbers but not connectors. The focus is upon position instead of relationship. People climb over others in an attempt to achieve the next rung up the ladder of “success.”

But “success” does not adequately define what the believing climber is seeking. The real prize for the climber is more elusive than fame or fortune. The real goal of this frenetic activity is much deeper and mysterious than can be described by success. The real goal though often not understood even by the climber himself is the prize of significance! The sad truth is that this goal is never reached because the climber is seeking significance in the wrong way.

I want to show you how some have managed to conquer the climbing, competitive spirit. I want to show you from the Word of God something that will deliver you from the rat race and the emptiness that characterize the search for significance. I want to empower you to be the hamster that steps off the running wheel forever. That wheel has outlived and overcome many generations of runners and God wants to deliver you from the rat race it represents.

The Strength of Praise

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” Ps 8:2

Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16 and the word “strength” was translated by the KJV as “praise.” I think many times believers fail to understand the strength and power of praise. There are some things about praise that bring strength into our lives.

Please notice that it is “out of the mouth” that God has ordained this strength to flow. It is not enough to sit there and imagine how wonderful the Lord is. You must let it flow from your mouth.

This strength flows from the mouths of believers to still the enemy and the avenger. Even babes and new believers have been ordained to praise God and put a halt to the works of the enemy.

God has “ordained” your praise just as He ordained the moon and stars.

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;” Ps 8:3

Just as God ordained and created the moon and stars, He also ordained that from your mouth should flow the strength of praise. He has also ordained the effect that your praise would have on the enemy.

Crowned with Glory and Honor

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” Ps 8:4-5

And while we are considering and speaking of things that God has ordained, let us speak about the height of God’s creative acts – man. Notice that God is very mindful of man. God has His eyes upon you now. He knows every detail about you. He visits you or comes to you in a way that makes His presence known to you.

Man is made “a little lower than the angels,” in that angels are spirit beings without many of the limitations of a physical body. I am not quite sure how all this works, yet I believe it to be so. Here we are, as humans, a spirit being trapped in a carnal body and saddled with a soulish psyche.

Yet in spite of all this, God has crowned man with glory and honor. In fact you yourself have been crowned with glory and honor. This coronation was presided over and officiated by none other than the Almighty! Let me show you how this works.

You were stamped with the image of the Creator God when you were conceived in the womb of your mother.

“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Ps 139:13-16

Stamped into every molecule of your being is the identity of the Creator. You were created to be an image bearer; you bear the image of God in every portion of your substance. God saw every trait you would possess before you were even conceived. He formed you and created you to be a totally unique and wonderfully fashioned individual. Totally unique in every way, and yet completely bearing His divine image. You are crowned with such glory and honor above every creature great and small.

Now, such a God as this fashioned you with unique gifts and talents that only He knows what they might be and where they can lead you. You have been gifted by the Creator with a set of qualities that are yours alone. No one else possesses this combination of genes, brains, guts, and gifts. In the last few days, I have heard Rudyard Kipling and Dr. Seuss quoted at graduation ceremonies more times than I care to. Let me tell you the truth about this achievement business. You were absolutely unique and totally significant when you were conceived. You were stamped with the divine image in every molecule of your naked little body. You have been gifted by God with all manner of talents, abilities, and potential before you drew your first breath. What greater significance do you need?


After all the gifts and potential the Lord has placed into you, will you try to gain significance by obtaining a new position on the totem pole? In a desire to satisfy a need for significance, will you play another round of king of the hill? Will knocking another off and seizing their position really help you? Significance has nothing to do other people; it is discovered as you become the person God created you to be. We discover significance when we develop our God-given gifts and become the person God meant us to be. I guarantee you that doing this will not displace someone else. Position is a byproduct of significance. Gaining position will never earn significance.

“A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.”  Prov 18:16


God’s love is not something that must be earned.  His love is unconditional.

Neither is significance something that must be earned.  You are conceived with significance.  We discover that significance as we discover the person God created us to be.

Non-believers struggle with the feeling that their life does not count.  They seek for meaning in various ways but even the most accomplished still struggle with an empty feeling. Achievement is never a path to significance.

Christians also must be reminded that significance is not earned through accomplishment and achievement.  Significance is about relationship.  We were created to relate to God and others.  We discover significance through those relationships and through developing the gifts God has given us.  This is not about outdoing another; it is about realizing our potential in Christ. Then and only then can we discover true significance. It may or may not taste like success but it will satisfy.

© 2009 Nevin Bass. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced for the purpose of resale without written permission.

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14 Unity in Worship

December 31st, 2009

“As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”  Ps 133:3

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  Ps 133:1

We are coming to a close of the songs of degrees. We will have one more after Psalm 133. Before the mini-psalter of worship closes out, the subject of unity comes up. Unity is an important part of our worship. Our worship cannot ascend to the holy hill without unity with others of like faith.

Within the context of worship, Psalm 133 speaks of the blessing of unity. We have stated that unity is the single most powerful force that we as a collective group can bring to the work of God. And yet unity is something of our own doing. God creates the environment where unity can flourish, but we as a people must decide that we will let unity be the predominant tone between us. And unity concerns more than just our actions; unity has a spiritual dimension. Read the rest of this entry »

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13 The Preeminence of Worship

October 16th, 2009

“Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.” Ps 132:3-5

We continue our series on the songs of ascension. Perhaps you will recall that these psalms are the fifteen psalms immediately following Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is the longest psalm and every verse concerns the Word of God. And immediately following this song extolling the virtues of God’s Word is a mini-psalter that details what the Word of God points toward. That is a relationship with God through worship.

Worship is the medium of exchange in our relationship with God. Prayer; sacrifice; intercession; praise – all of these are part of the overall tapestry that makes up worship. In short, worship is the overall picture of how we relate to God and He to us.

The psalms of ascension were written and compiled to be sung as the people of God traveled up the steep hill of Jerusalem. They were sung from memory and most are 6 to 8 verses in length. Psalm 132 is the longest of these songs of ascending. The topic of this song is the preeminence of worship in the life of the godly. One must make a conscience decision to make worship a top priority in life. And then diligence must be exercised to establish the preeminence of worship in our lifestyle. Read the rest of this entry »

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12 Rising to Maturity

September 30th, 2009

“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”  Ps 131:2

Ascending in worship includes finding our place at the feet of the Savior. We will not achieve what we should in worship until we humble ourselves in the presence of God. Several years ago I preached a message from this text titled “Are You a Weaned Child or a Spoiled Brat?” You can be certain that a spoiled brat will not be able to relate to the Lord as a child of God should relate to the Father.

This does not mean that the Lord does not love children. Jesus loves the little children is one of the first songs our kids learn in Sunday school. And it is very true. They are loved in their innocence, and in their not so innocence as well. There are also childlike qualities that believers should seek to retain. Childlike faith, a lack of pretension, and humility are traits that come quite naturally for children, yet are much harder for adults to maintain. Read the rest of this entry »

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11 Out of the Depths

September 15th, 2009

“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” Ps 130:1-2

Our God is a God of hope, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. Our hope is not in what is flippantly referred to as “the almighty dollar.” Our hope is certainly not in a political party or in Washington, DC. Our hope is in Him.

Speaking of politics and the recent national election, I assume you have prayed and cast your ballot according to the way you felt the Lord directed you to vote. If the election went the way you wanted, the Lord bless you! If it did not, allow me to offer my sincere condolences to those who mourn in Zion.

Personally, I am likewise unhappy with the direction that we as a society are taking. It seems that every few years we have before us a vivid gauge of the deep divisions that exist in our world. And yet I must remind you that God is still on the throne. He establishes kingdoms, sets up and puts down rulers. And all these things are in His hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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10 Afflicted But Not Defeated

September 10th, 2009

“Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say: Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.” Ps 129:1-2

Preparing your heart for worship and to enter the presence of God requires reflection as well as anticipation. We reflect upon the hardships the Lord has brought us through. We anticipate a time of victory and triumph over the forces that oppress and seek to destroy us.

Psalm 129 is a song of ascending that does exactly that. The first four verses are reflective and the last four verses are anticipatory. While the protagonist of this psalm is Israel, it is certainly within the scope of this thought to look to the Church collectively and Christians individually. And so we look back upon our past experiences and see that the Lord has not allowed us to be overcome by our afflictions, and we look forward to the ultimate day of victory and vindication. Read the rest of this entry »

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09 Walking in His Ways

August 27th, 2009

“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” Ps 128:1-2

The walk is illustrative of a progressive relationship. By using a metaphor of walking to represent our relationship with God, the psalm is emphasizing progression, direction, and destination. Every walk transverses territory. Every walk takes a direction and thus excludes other directions. Every walk takes us somewhere, or has a goal in mind. Our relationship with God is a walk from where we are to where He wants to take us. It involves progression, direction, and a destination.

This progressive relationship is by nature first inward and then outward. The nature of the journey is conceived in the heart, translated to the mind, and transferred to the feet. While it begins inwardly, progress is not made until this desire to travel is transferred to those old dogs! Conversely, directionless feet demonstrate an aimless heart. Those who allow their feet to decide where they are being taken are thus because they have no real direction in their heart. Read the rest of this entry »

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08 The Builder and Keeper of the Home

August 20th, 2009

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” Ps 127:1

The “Little Psalter” that is made up of the psalms of ascent is very organized. The psalms of ascent are the set of fifteen psalms from 120 to 134. This set of songs is divided into two groups by psalm 127, which is the middle psalm and is ascribed to Solomon. The group of ascent psalms on either side of psalm 127 is sprinkled with two psalms that are ascribed to David. This central psalm of ascent acknowledges the role of the Almighty in establishing and protecting the family. This is a worthy thing to contemplate as we prepare to enter God’s presence in worship.

God is the primary source of all our blessings. This psalm should be the credo of every head of house. Every mom and dad should have psalm 127 as their motto concerning family life. The message of Psalm 127 is particularly addressed to fathers of traditional families. Read the rest of this entry »

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07 Worshiping the God of Restoration

August 13th, 2009

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Ps 126:5-6

Psalm 126 is the final note in the musical scale of deliverance. The scale is not complete until the notes go full circle and return to the point of beginning. To stop short of that eighth note is to end the scale without resolve.

The cycle of chastening could not be complete without restoration. This song recalls the day when God restored Israel after seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Until the notes of this psalm were sung, the story of the Babylonian captivity was incomplete. We were left hanging in a suspenseful state. There was no feeling of harmony and completeness until the captivity of God’s people was ended and Israel once again planted in the land. This is the song the nation sung to commemorate the symmetry of God’s dealings with His people. It was sung on the occasion of the holy days, as the pilgrims ascended the holy mountain to the city of David and the place of the temple.

The goodness of God cannot be understood without the last note that returns to the beginning of the scale. So much about God’s purpose and how He deals with us will not be resolved from our perspective unless we stick with Him through the entire cycle. When Jeremiah was shown the destruction that was ahead for an unrepentant people, he wept until his head felt like a pool of water. That is because from the prophet’s perspective, he could not see the purpose of God. But that purpose was completed when God brought again the captivity of Israel. So much about the Lord will never be understood without seeing His restoration, His rebuilding, His harvest. Read the rest of this entry »

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06 Enjoying Security

August 11th, 2009

“They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” Ps 125:1-2

Trust is a critical element of worship. This is not trust in the sense we often use to express saving faith. But the type of trust spoken of in psalm 125 deals with trusting God to protect and keep one from the enemy and his crooked ways.

Trust expressed in worship is the absolute conviction that good will ultimately triumph and God will reward His own. This type of trust glorifies God and exalts His position in our lives.

As you prepare to enter the presence of God in worship, you should reflect upon the protection that is yours as part of your relationship with Him. He is the only security that truly exists. There is no fortress that can withstand other than that fortress that surrounds God’s people. Read the rest of this entry »

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