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#Psalm

Note: I wrote the following in August of 2022 in my journal. Many words were written in that journal that will not be published. Some were too personal, some too dark. But the following I believe should see the light of day.


Even the darkness is not dark to you;
The night is bright as the day,
For darkness is as light with you.
Psalm 139:12

I don’t want to wallow in this valley. I don’t want to become friends with the untamable beasts that prowl outside my sight. I don’t intend to be here forever, to turn my encampment into a fort.

Dark is not dark for the Lord. What a delicious verse. The Psalmist leads us here with questions of where can he hide that the Lord cannot find him. That before a word is on his tongue, the Lord knows it. In the darkest places, the Lord is there and can see what comes next, for the darkness is not dark to Him. The night is bright as the day.

I do not camp in this valley alone. Even when the fire goes out and the shadows casted become all-encompassing, You are here and know what comes next.

The big question of yesterday’s sermon at Heights Community was “have you allowed darkness to be greater than the Gospel?” I have written quite a bit about darkness here on Finley, I am. If you’ve looked darkness in the face, you know the feeling that goes to your core.

Grumbling

There is always something to complain about. You have to be intentional about the state and direction of your heart. Read your heart’s pulse. When you are asked how you are doing, do you respond positively more often than negatively? Averages, of course, matter. You are allowed to have a tough week. But tough year?

Let me be clear, while not grumbling: my last year had a lot of dark points. A lot. I can grumble about a lot of it. I know that I am in the valley of Psalm 23, so of course I also know where God is and how much I should want.

And the blessings have continued unabated. Yeah, I’ve been in a valley, but God’s been providing for us. Promotions, raises, the house, and a church that loves and supports us daily.

Welcome Back

One sermon point yesterday was that we need to tell more stories of thankfulness than stories of grumbling. And I felt that. Maybe I haven’t grumbled much here, but I have with my closest of friends. And I need to be more intentional about this. The blessings have by and large outweighed the curses in the last year. Outweighed being the key word there. Don’t count your curses, y’all. If I did, they may outnumber my blessings over the last 18 months. But the blessings outweigh them. Ooo. Yeah, I love that too.

Last year we left our church of 8 years. And when I say left, we were basically chased out. Long story, but the short of it was heresy was present and snakes had their way. A lying pastor said to my face, while lying, “if you don’t trust us, what are you doing here?” So we left. Now I can grumble about this, but we are four months into this move and the weight of the blessings that have come from it are enormous. The darkness would love to keep drawing my eyes back to the curses, lay them out and ask me to count them, but I should be focused on thanksgiving and there is so much to give thanks for. I needed to be somewhere else and God knows better than I do. My kids have grown so much spiritually in the last four months that I cannot help but stop, stunned.

God is good.

A note here is that we need to be drawing this out of our fellow Christians too. It is one of my notes I have taken since leaving our church of eight years. Grumbling, gossiping, and a lack of thankfulness were too common. People didn’t push you to the Cross. Sometimes you need to vent, to grumble. At least you feel like you do. But a good Christian friend pushes, massages that. If a brother or sister is entangled in the darkness, you should be shining hope and help them see the power of the Gospel in their situation: show them the way to the Cross. If someone comes to you to grumble about someone else— often gossip— drive them to resolve conflict, to confront the conflict, to put behind them the things that are unresolvable and to focus on the Cross. When we do this we train— disciple— not only others, but ourselves, to not grumble. Acknowledging the darkness is fine, but being obsessed with it requires you to be pulled out. There are right and wrong ways to do that, but we as Christians need to be helping our fellow Christians in this. I didn’t have this at our previous church and I somehow didn’t see it until we were in a church that actively practiced it. And I love it.

Despair

Stare into the darkness for even a few minutes and you’ll feel it staring back. You’ll feel the pull, the snaky appendages wrapping around you, constricting around you. That whisper, “there is no hope, you are alone, God isn’t coming to save you this time.” Despair loves to sit in the corner of your room and just watch you silently. A spook. An unnerving, unblinking gaze.

As I stated above, one of the ways they can get in is to get you grumbling. To take your eyes away from the Cross, to take your eyes off the end of the race, to get you to focus on your worries of today, your anxieties of tomorrow, your depressions of yesterday. To take your hope. The dwellers of the darknesses, they know they cannot take your salvation, but they can make you absolutely useless.

How many nights over the last year that I have hit the pillow and uttered a simple prayer: Lord, please take the watch. Sleeping with one hand on your sword, one eye open, ready for war is no way to rest. One must trust that God’s got you and when you wake, grab your lute and wake the morning (Psalm 57:8).

Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!

Psalm 57:8 ESV

Live in prayer, not despair.

Give me such fellowship with thee
    that I may defy Satan,
      unbelief, the flesh, the word,
  with delight that comes not from a creature,
  and which a creature cannot mar.
Give me a draught of the eternal fountain
  that lieth in thy immutable, everlasting love
    and decree.

The Servant in Battle, The Valley of Vision

Power of the Gospel

A lot of talk around Christian Nationalism is a misrepresentation of the entire conversation by those that would prefer to demonize and kill hope. I’m almost through Doug Wilson’s Mere Christendom right now and one thing he makes abundantly clear is this is not about converting by the sword or even electing the right, red-pilled conservative. This is about the hope in the Gospel’s power to transform and once it has transformed, leading Christianly and restoring Christendom. You see, the right elected official may be able to throw out abortion as a “right,” but he cannot change the hearts of wicked men and women that scream in wretched desire to murder babies.

One would be dumb to not acknowledge that making something illegal will force hearts to change over time— see slavery or the practice in India of burning widows alive with their dead husbands— but that has to come along with the sharing of the Gospel. Sure, end the murdering and sacrificing, but spread the hope of Jesus and people will start to slay their own dragons.

The Gospel has power. Lots of it. Much larger, much slimier darknesses than your present one have been defeated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Much larger threats than the ones you face have fallen before the Gospel’s power. We contend with a vanquished foe. Vanquished. Defeated thoroughly.

In the end, God wins. Calvary broke the dragon’s head. And if this is the case, we have hope the life-changing nature of the Gospel. The world-changing nature of the Gospel. The darkness doesn’t win. It ceases. (Revelation 22:5)

This is why the topic of Christian Nationalism has been infectious to many: it is hope-filled. Christ wins. Go and make disciples of all the nations. As we disciple nations, as we win cities and states to Christ, how do we lead, how do we establish Christendom? It is a hope-filled trust that God wins as a foundation. Not that if we can just get one president that hears us, we can make America great once more. No, that if we spread the Gospel we can see splendor returned to the world like God intended.

The Gospel itself is power. Don’t let the darkness shut you down and make you useless. Don’t despair, don’t grumble, don’t cry your way into heaven.

A Campfire in the Valley

Looking out into the darkness has an alternative. The light of Christ is radiant with beauty, hope, grace, mercy, and love. Even in the darkest valley, Death lying in bloodthirsty wait, the campfire of the Gospel shines brighter than the darkness’s power to engulf the light. Gaze into the fire, peace and hope are there. Let them soak into your soul, drown out the echoes of despair. Grab a lute— or guitar if you still don’t have a lute— and sing songs of thankfulness, of hope, of grace amazing. Write these songs in your heart so when you have to venture through the darkness you can raise your Ebenezer and not lose the hope you know holds more power than those that stare at you from beyond the veil.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

‭‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Note: I wrote the following in December of last year in my journal. Many words were written in that journal that will not be published. Some were too personal, some too dark. But the following I believe should see the light of day. I published a post a week ago around this song and hinted at some of this writing, but rereading this told me I should publish this too.


It’s been a rough few years around my house. This year was one of the roughest. The tears cried, the sleepless nights, the anxiety, and the darkness snatching at our feet, screaming for despair. I’ve written more privately this year than I have in recent years. I want to share a few scribbles from those writings.

But my heart is broken, Lord. My nightmares keep me up at night. My daymares keep me from focusing all day.

Where seldom the darkness takes form while I walk, when I rest the lurking, oozing, despair drapes itself over my shoulders. The sleeping dragons awake and intrude on my personal space, their heavy breathing reminding me who is lord over this present age. Albeit temporary.

I do not camp in this valley alone. Even when the fire goes out and the shadows casted become all-encompassing, You are here and know what comes next.

And I lived in the Psalms. In David, our bard king, who had it very easy in life… I kid, his life was rougher than rough.

My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire (Psalm 57:4, NASB)

Yet, this man after God’s heart sang.

“Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!” Psalm 57:8 ESV

And I wrote:

God has him. And he knows it. He feels it in his bones. So instead of whimpering cries to the rocks, he grabs his lyre and strikes a chord.

One day I will understand. Or take rest before the Throne.

I know in my bones who has me. I read earlier this year that the Irish phrase things as “sadness is upon me,” instead of saying “I am sad.” See, in the English, we identify the emotion with a state of being. The Irish, from what I understand, identify emotion as a fleeting thing that rests for a time and then leaves. It isn’t who you are, but what you feel. Above you’ll see that affect my words: “despair drapes itself over my shoulders”.

And that brings us to the song that has chased me through the years and where my Christmas playlist starts this year.

And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

It’s hard coming to Christmas, a season of joy and hope, when the shadows abound. When the lurking darkness breathes fire, when hate is strong and our songs are mocked.

For the wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:2-5

Despair is the complete loss of hope. We hear the songs, the words repeat— wild and sweet— but darkness… And that’s the thing about hope. Hope is not for the now but the later.

The bells ring out: God is not dead and He does not sleep.

This lyric, in other words, echoed in my darkest nights this year. I knew not what lay in shadow waiting— and sometimes I knew exactly what lay waiting— but I also knew that while the wily Dragon might currently reside over our world, over him is a mightier King that is in control of every step we take and that cunning Dragon is under His control.

Peace on Earth, good will to men. That is your hope, Christian. Rest in it here, before it is reality. Know that it is coming. Know that He has got you.

Lightbearer

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

John 3:20

Those in the darkness hate the light. And you are to bear the light. And they will hate you for it.

For the wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:2-5

You, Christian, are a lightbearer. You are to raise your children to be lightbearers. This week the darkness started to really wear on one of my children. The hatred started to hurt my child’s heart. We talked about how darkness when illuminated is offended, a self-righteous act as the offense is not due to the light but the offensiveness being illuminated. Some things the darkness would prefer to remain in shadow, in secret.

I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.

Psalm 69:12

There are lies being spread about my family. Intentional, grievious lies with the intent to destroy. Deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, attacking without cause. Scripture has been a place of peace for me, especially the Psalms and Proverbs, this last year. I told my child that when they hate us, we love them harder. It’s the easy response to return cruel words to their hatred, but this is not the way of the light. It’s the way of darkness. We, in choosing to follow Christ, will be hated by the world. It is what our Lord told us would be our reality.

And it sucks. I told my child that the pain of betrayal, of vitriol, of hatred doesn’t get better. What gets better is the strength of our faith and our training in lifting the shield.

Christian, your job as a parent is getting harder. It seems like every day there are new things you need to protect them from. The passive agressive distain Christians got when we were younger is now out-in-the-open hatred. And it’s not even just social media, I see it openly in the mainstream media, from our President, and even from the occasional coworker that is unaware that there are Christians nearby. And your kids can see this. Raise them strong in their faith, ready to provide reasonable argument for their faith, prepare them to cling to the Cross no matter the taunts, the jeers, or the songs the drunkards make about them. Teach them to respond to the hateful songs of drunkards with praise for the Lord and love for their enemies.

Raise them to be lightbearers.

I am on a bit of a kick for the Psalmist of Ogden Brian Sauvé this week. Heck, much of February and March was me just swimming through the Psalms, so it makes sense.

Fret not thyself at evil men
Nor envy those who worketh wrong
For they will soon fade like the grass
And wither like the new-cut herb

Fret Not Thyself At Evil Men (Psalm 37:1-11)

Culture Saturday: Comfort Among Lions

Last year our pastor, during our Summer in the Psalms, quoted from Charles Spurgeon. This week I looked up the 1879 sermon on Psalm 57 that he was quoting from.

In it, Spurgeon talked about being among lions. And he didn’t sugarcoat it.

My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.

- Psalm 57:4

It would be all too easy to say that persecution is what happens to them and not to us. Or say that real persecution— the good ol’ True Scotsman argument— is not happening here. And this was 150 years ago. Christianity was even more encroached in the Western culture. But Charles didn’t go that easy route. He addresses the working men of Britain that are under persecution by coworkers.

They declare that they never will be slaves; but they are slaves — slaves to their own ungodliness and drunkenness— the great mass of them; and only where divine grace comes in and snaps the chain do men become free at all.

Not driving the point, but “only where divine grace comes in and snaps the chain do men become free at all” is an excellent phrase. If you don’t know that divine grace, you are enslaved to Satan. Period.

If one serious man sets his face steadfastly to serve God the baser sort seem as if they must get him under their feet, and treat him with every indignity that malice can devise. It may be all in sport, but the victim does not think so.

I once looked up the word sarcasm. The word comes from Greek sarkasmos, literally meaning “to strip off the flesh”. That is what sarcasm is doing. Jeering, poking fun, mocking. None of it builds up. Now some guys, that is how their relationships work with each other. But one always has to check themselves.

Do not tell me that persecution ceased when the last martyr burned. There are martyrs who have to burn by the slow fire of cruel mockings day after day; and I bless God that the old grit is still among us, and that the old spirit still survives, so that men defy sneers and slander and hold on their way.

“Burn by the slow fire of cruel mockings.” I feel that. There are those that seek to destroy. There are old ways of pulling good men into the streets and throwing them into pits of lions. And there are new ways of ruining their reputations, ruining their careers, ruining their lives. And for good men— good men that in death would be freed of the sorrows of this world— this can be much worse.

Why did the psalmist call them lions? “Dogs” is about as good a name as they deserve. […] The lion is not only strong but cruel; and it is real cruelty which subjects well-meaning men to reproach and misrepresentation. The enemies of Christ and his people are often as cruel as lions, and would slay us if the law permitted them.

This was 150 years ago and might be only getting more true. The dogs, the lions today still seek to destroy. Where 150 years ago the drunkards mocked the well-meaning man, today they have contrived ways to destroy people more systematically. They push ideologies that are contrary to that of Christians. They require all to agree and for those that do not, they come up with new words to throw at them. Homophobic, transphobic, bigot, worse. And, like devils before, they try to convince the world that their ideology is no ideology at all, but just how the world works. Satan doesn’t exist, after all. And the names aren’t the worst of it. They lose meaning. No, they are in fact taking you out of the public square. Your views are not allowed. It’s not safe for you to be around children. They come up with rubrics to weed you out during their hiring processes.

You need not be ashamed to be pelted with the same dirt that was thrown at your Master; and if it should ever come to this, that you should be stripped of everything, and false witnesses should rise up against you, and you should even be condemned as a felon, and taken out to execution, still your lot will not be worse than his.

But our lot? It isn’t worse than that our Master was given.

Nor was your Master alone. Recollect the long line of prophets that went before Christ. Which of them was it that was received with honour? Did they not stone one and slay another with the sword, cut one in pieces with a saw, put others to death with stones? Ye know that the march of the faithful may be tracked by their blood.

Man, Charles. Where’s the hope? In Christ, we are safe, right? They’ll know we are Christians by our… blood trail.

Of all the gallant shows the Roman Empire ever saw, that which excited the populace beyond all things else was to see a family— a man and his wife, perhaps, and a grown-up daughter and son, and three or four children — all marched into the arena, and the big door thrown up, that out might rush the lion and spring upon them, and tear them to pieces. What harm had they done? They had forgiven their enemies. That was one of their great sins. They would not worship the gods of wood and stone. They would not blaspheme the name of Jesus whom they loved, for he had taught them to love one another, and to love all mankind. For such things as this men raised the cry, “Christians to the lions! Christians to the lions!”

Good Christians loved. Worked diligently. Gave to their communities. Adopted children. Helped the homeless. Didn’t blaspheme— to speak of God in an irreverent, impious manner. “They would not worship the gods of wood and stone.” And for that, the streets cried out “Christians to the lions!”

Good Christian, you are not called to be friends with the world. “You may pick up a fashionable religion, and get through the world with it very comfortably; but if you have the true faith you will have to fight for it.”

Just now the merciful hand of providence prevents open persecution, but only let that hand be taken away, and the old spirit will rage again. The seed of the serpent hates the seed of the woman still; and if the old dragon were not chained he would devour the man-child, as he has often tried to do. Do not deceive yourselves, in one form or other the old howl of “Christians to the lions!” would soon be heard in London if almighty power did not sit upon the throne and restrain the wrath of man.

I fear the hand of God is being taken away in the West. The old howl is returning. But while comfort cannot be had in this world for good men, in Christ and His Church it can be.

You should do what your Master did— make his church your father and mother and sister and brother; nay, better still, make Christ all these to you and more. Take the Lord Jesus to be everything that all the dearest of mortals could be and far more.

As I’ve said before, grabbing my instrument and going to church brings enough comfort to get me through my weeks. Go back to Psalm 57. David, holed up in a cave, surrounded by dragons, spears seeking his mortal flesh, grabbed his lyre and belted out worshipful thanksgiving in defiance of the dark.

Christian. Defy the lurking dragons, defy the dark.

By the Waters of Babylon

By the waters of Babylon,
there we sat down and wept,
when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

Psalm 137 1-3

I wrote about a song called Even If the other day. This morning I’m reading through my Bible and land on this psalm. This mirrors that song in many ways. We Christians are far from home, for we Christians are a nomadic, homeless religion. Unlike the Jews, we have no land until the Lord returns. And so often, we find outselves where, as Psalm 69 says, “[m]ore in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause.”

How shall we sing the Lord’s song
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joy!

Psalm 137 4-6

I would rather lob my right hand off than sing at their altars.

But also let the reverse of verse 5 be true. Let my right hand never forget its skill, as I, Lord, never lose sight of your coming Glory and the Kingdom.

When we are held to the flame, when we are in the midst of our enemies, when their mocking voices demand that we kowtow to them and deny our God, it can be hard to raise our voices. But don’t hang up your lyre, oh Christian. If they demand that you worship their gods, if they demand that you forget your own:

Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.

Psalm 57:8b-9

Wake the dawn. Don’t worship at their altars. Your God is not one of many, but the Only. The Name above all. Shout that.

Now pardon me— or don’t, as no pardon is required— as I go riff on I’ll Fly Away on my mandolin. Time to wake the dawn.

There is something about sitting by a campfire that soothes. There is something about sitting by a campfire with an instrument in hand that imbues. Yesterday we lit the firepit— a nice addition to our lovely home, complete with a grilling top— and grilled up tons— 5-6 pounds, really— of meat. We like having food for the days ahead. After dinner, storytime, teeth brushing, after the kiddos went off to bed, as the sun went down, I went out with my mando and sat by the simmering coals. Just enough warmth and light.

And I sat in awesome wonder.

June 24th was a major victory. A battle won in a war long-waged. Just one victory— albeit a large one— in a war that is not over. But that is just the background, really. That victory is not ours, it is not a moment to pat ourselves on the backs. As Bill Maher’s guest stated clearly, this was just luck. A “happy accident”. Had Ruth Bader Ginsburg retired under Obama, this may not have happened. Had Hillary Clinton won in 2016, this may not have happened.

Here we are. A “happy accident”, just luck.

But I don’t believe in luck. I believe in sovereignty. I believe in a Living God seated on a celestial throne. I don’t believe in accidents. I don’t believe in mistakes.

But the world does.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Psalm 8:3-4

One of our elders at church preached yesterday morning from Psalm 8. Two words are used in verse 4 to describe mankind. “What is man (enosh)” and “the son of man (ben adam)”. Enosh often points to our mortality and frailty, while ben adam means “son of dirt”.

All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 3:20

In Genesis, the Creator makes us from dirt. Adam, the name of the first man, is literally dirt, which the Creator breathed life into. And the world doesn’t believe much different today. Our universe is one big accident. Your very existence is a chain of events, not driven with purpose, but with no direction whatsoever.

And your life? Meaningless.

The world has no definition of what life is. When it begins. When it ends. What is in between the beginning and the end is without meaning. Enjoy it while you can, get out of it what you want, and expire into the nothingness at the end of this.

It’s no wonder that the world rages against anyone that says that one shouldn’t live a specific way or enjoy certain pleasures. Why stop one from doing so? It’s all meaningless anyway. The void doesn’t care.

But.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14

You weren’t made without purpose. You are not an accident. Nothing is. Our Lord, the Maker of the universe, the Creator of the stars and worlds untouched, the One that knows the number of hairs on your head, yet holds the Sun in his hand: He made you for a reason.

Oh Lord, my God
When I, in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

I sat by the fire last night. Awesome wonder. As darkness crept over the earth. I considered. As the light of my fire glowed. My soul sang. His majesty is great, His power mighty, and His sovereignty complete. He has a plan. Every step is known. And He is owed the glory.

And He somehow cares for us. Despite us being mere mortals, frail. Despite us being made from dirt. He cares. He hears us. He is with us.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:9

Meditation has become a life hack to the gospel of self-optimization. Akin to an eerie scene from a Black Mirror episode, we’re powered up from meditation and optimized as human capital to increase our net productivity. Meditation apps are just one more tool in our toolbox to help raise a generation of lean, mean, production machines. But it’s having the opposite effect. By forcing even nature’s spacious, awe-inspiring beauty into the claustrophobic confines of personal productivity, we further reinforce the notion that the world revolves around us and our optimized utility. That is a heavy burden indeed, and it’s not making us happier.

The Gospel Coalition

Meditation should not be about you.

One of the earliest forms of mindfulness in the Bible was practiced by Israel’s King David more than 3,000 years ago. When he considered creation around him, unmediated by technology, he contemplated its wonder. David didn’t know then what NASA tells us now about our tiny place in a vast cosmos: We are one of 7.7 billion people who inhabit Earth. The earth and sun are part of the solar system. Our sun is one of at least one 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. The Milky Way galaxy is just one of a hundred billion galaxies in the universe.

A meditation focused on finding one’s better self inside and centering oneself is always going to come up wanting. Why? Because there is no better self inside us. Our best is still like filthy rags. Our hearts are deceitful above all else. Our flesh literally wants that which is against God.

Biblical meditation focuses on God and our relationship with Him. Less of me and more of God. And so, modern meditation is not godly. It is innately selfish and will not produce fruit. It is not compatible with the Bible in any way.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them? Human beings that you care for them?

Psalms 8:3–4

We are small. Insignificant to the galaxy. A grain of sand on a beach. But:

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalms 8:5–9

Our purpose is not found in us. Our meaning is not found in us. Betterment is not found in us. Peace is not found in us. Contentment is not found in us. These things and more are found in the Creator of all things.