The Shrink Dynamic
dy·nam·ic: an interactive system or process, characterized by action or forcefulness.
The bottom line: sin causes all of us to shrink the size of our lives to the size of our lives.
The DNA of sin is selfishness, and it shrinks the size of my universe to the size of one. Sin creates the ultimate shrink dynamic. It causes all of us in some way to shrink the size of our lives to the size of our lives. Sin shrinks my motivation, zeal, desire, care, and concern to the contours of my life. In the shrunken kingdom of self, there is no functional room for God or others. It is humbling, but spiritually essential, to admit that sin has shrink-wrapped us all.
The Huge Contours of God
The size of my living was meant to be connected to the depth of his greatness. The fathomless greatness of God is the more that I was designed to live for. When I expand my living inside the huge tent of his glory, immediately there is room for other people in my life as well. Community with him results in meaningful community with others. . . From the first moment of the creation of Adam and Eve, people were designed to live within the huge contours of the glory of God. We were not designed to settle for personal survival, temporal happiness, or individual success. We were created to find our meaning, identity, and purpose in the existence, character, and plan of God. Our identity was meant to be rooted in his love. Our hope was designed to be tied to his grace. Our potential was meant to be connected to his power. Our purpose was meant to be structured by his will. Our joy was meant to be wed to his glory. In every way, our vision of what is necessary, true, worthy, and meaningful was meant to be rooted in a functional worship of him. We were created for the dignity of living large and meaningful lives—lives that literally are connected to things before the creation of the world and extending far into eternity.
The Contours of the Shrunken Kingdom
Here and now. The shrink-wrapped kingdom of self tends to have its eyes firmly focused on the present. It is about what I see, hear, think, and feel in the here and now. This kingdom isn’t a kingdom of delayed gratification or persevering patience. It is an impatient kingdom that wants what it wants and wants it now.
Me and mine. The shrunken kingdom is also nearsighted. It doesn’t see well at a distance. Its vision of what is needful, important, valuable, vital, urgent, worthwhile, and necessary tends to travel no further than the cares and concerns of self.
Wants and needs. The kingdom of self is fundamentally driven by a personal commitment to make sure I get everything I think I need and to do all I can to satisfy my every desire. It is not a kingdom that is shaped by what God wants and by what others need. My needs occupy so much space that it is hard for anything else to compete for my attention, energy, and interest.
Physical and material. The shrink-wrapped kingdom tends to be about what can be seen, heard, felt, touched, tasted, or in some way physically experienced. It is a lifestyle that is dominated by the physical experiences and pleasures of the physical creation. It is dominated by physical appearance and sensory pleasures.
Entitlements and rights. The kingdom of self tends to be a “this is what I deserve,” “this is my position,” “this is what belongs to me,” and “this is how you should treat me” kingdom. It is a kingdom that finds greater delight in being served than in serving. Here you tend to be most grieved by offenses against yourself. Here you have a vigilant eye to how others are treating you. Here your relationships are shaped by your expectations for how the people around you should relate to you. Here you are very clear about your property, your position, and your rights.
The final question: in your everyday life right now, where are you telling yourself that you are living for god when you are really living for yourself?
Come Join Us in our Quest for More
Adapted from A Quest For More. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the express written permission of New Growth Press. To purchase this and other resources, please visit www.newgrowthpress.com.
© 2008 by Paul David Tripp. Used by permission of New Growth Press. All rights reserved.