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The Reference Point

A tall man steps into your elevator and you think, he must be at least 6’5" tall. You must have a reference point from which to make such judgments, and its validity will dictate the accuracy of your estimate. Since both of you are standing on a level surface, you are 5’10" and his chin is even with your eyes, you can estimate his height. If you and he were suspended in a cloudless sky thirty yards apart, your lack of reference point would make it impossible to accurately assess his size or distance from you.

God’s giant heart is consumed with agape ("the most constructive good") for man. Have you ever considered that in order to recognize agape, you need a reference point? You must reference it by the absence of agape. For example, experiencing indifference from someone you love is a reference point by which you are better able to identify God’s agape toward you. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. By comparing Christ’s stepping between you and hell to your lover’s rejection, you can validate His agape nature. Experiences such as this can either lead you deeper into Christ or deceive you into blaming Him for it and withdrawing. The accuracy of your reference point will determine your choice every time.

How can God reveal this marvelous, altruistic identity to woo us into the intimate relationship that He longs for? If He were to appear in all His glory we’d be so awed and intimidated that we’d lock our doors and dial 911! Because of this, He uses reference points to reveal Himself to us in bite-sized doses.

Valid reference points are an imperative for making accurate judgments. In man’s futile search for the meaning of life, the combined pronouncements of the world’s great philosophers which have not been extrapolated from The Reference Point are merely profound deception. Having dismissed the notion of absolute Truth as superstitious myth, they searched for "truth." Like a mariner who mistakes Venus for Polaris, they sailed in circles, and then meticulously recorded their intellectual tail chasing. Subsequent generations-of-the-deceived first marvel at these articulate papier-mache legacies, then adopt them as their own reference points and set sail for further "truth." Using the wrong reference point will yield the spiritual parallel of the depression-era Texas farmer who slaved away in poverty on his arid land while unknowingly sitting atop the yet-to-be-discovered Permian oil basin. This describes the billions who chart their lives by wrong reference points.

First God enabled man to reference the beneficence of His works against the evil works of the devil (stars/sunsets/rosebuds vs. murder/rape/mayhem) (Rom. 1:20). Then He revealed His marvelous, gracious identity and His altruistic plan for man in Jesus, "If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen God (in an earthsuit)." That is why you responded to Christ for salvation. Now that you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior, Lord, and Reference Point, you are equipped to evaluate the true meaning of life.

For example: God created the earth. Then He changed all the angels who had rebelled against His authority to demons and exiled them to (of all places!) the earth (Rev. 12:9). Whoa! Why not to Mars? Wasn’t that a mistake? No. We’ve already established that we must have an evil reference point with which to compare God’s agape if we are to discover His infinite worthiness to be The Reference Point. Next God created man, placed him in Shangri-La and "said," I AM GOD. My job description is: I run things. I am good and I created you for our mutual pleasure. You are special to Me. I love you and long for intimacy with you. I require only that you do things My way, not your way. I make the rules, that’s My job. Man could choose between intimacy with God or writing a declaration of independence and becoming his own god. Adam and Eve fell, so delete Shangri-La, enter cancer and canker sores, tornadoes and tomato worms, asps and AIDS, calamity and cavities, aging and arguing, famine and fat, ad infinitum.

The fallen world has to be this way. Discerning that He is a good God who demonstrates His faithfulness to His beloved can only be understood because of the evil, pain and suffering produced by man’s rebellion. We’d never even search for Him let alone recognize Him in a Disneyland! We’d all be lined up at the popcorn stand. This is why so many who live relatively trouble-free lives are indifferent or even militant toward Jesus. Suffering is what leads us to cling to and measure all things by The Reference Point and hold the right course through life’s storms.

Today Satan is skewing the world’s traditional reference points through relativism, situation ethics, "individual rights," etc. "PC" social sins are mushrooming because of such blurred reference points and it’s going to get much worse. Why in the world would God let this happen? He is allowing Satan to attack all of your fleshly security to enable Christ to demonstrate that He is the only Reference Point who can put your spinning world into perspective.

So how about you? What side have you come down on? Are you falling for the lie or walking in the light? Are you a Uni-Reference-Point Christian (Christ alone) who knows that God has everything under control or a multi-reference-Point Christian (circumstances and feelings) who longs for "the good ol’ days" when things were "smoother?"

The more you evaluate things by The Reference Point, the more your discernment increases. You marvel at His creative genius as you observe the beauty of a cardinal on a snowy morning, while many believe this gorgeous creature came from a roll of the dice. Only knowing The Reference Point enables you to escape that snare. Do not view such discernment as insignificant! If Satan can get a leg up on your personal reference point, he can blunt the work of Christ in your life.

You marvel that God creates a baby in His image. You know that this tiny human has the capacity to reign with Christ one day because you know The Reference Point personally. On the other hand the deceived, though scandalized that ancient cultures threw their babies into volcanoes to appease their gods, enthusiastically cast their own babies into the maw of the god of "free choice." Then they hail Mr. Clinton’s "choice" to use tiny murdered earthsuits for the development of better anti-wrinkle face cream. Instead of sacrificing ourselves for our children, we sacrifice them for ourselves! Blurred reference points.

It is tempting when we see the weeping survivors of a tragedy, or mistreated children and hear Satan’s accusation against The Reference Point: How can a loving God allow, etc.? You and I have experienced such thoughts. But if you know The Reference Point–His character and His nature–you can see tragedy as the product of a fallen world in rebellion against the most gracious, agape, compassionate Creator imaginable

So when bad things happen to you, good people, will you believe that God is agape or will you believe the lie that He is indifferent to you? You want a miracle to prove Him? Here it is. The Reference Point’s one gracious act 2000 years ago is your miracle. Jesus, through grinding agony, voluntarily stayed on the cross for unmeritorious, unworthy, unlovely you as you went your indifferent, god-playing way. Is that so familiar that it’s now simply rows of blank print on white paper to you? Wake up, indifferent sleeper! The more you set your mind on that picture of God-in-an-earthsuit, the more He will reveal that He is totally, irrevocably good. Establishing This Reference Point is the key to discarding the enemy’s lying accusations against Him in your thought life, and will grant you "the peace [of mind] that passes all understanding."

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.