Cross Words: Make much of Christ

By Isaiah Pauley

It was like being caught in a whirlwind. Shaken to the core. Reminded of what matters most. Stepping upon stones. On an unknown sea. And clinging to Christ through it all.

That’s what 2019 felt like to me.

Can you relate? Another year has come and gone. Like a tornado rustling through a village. And you’re trying to understand what’s left of it. Rummaging through debris. Picking up the pieces. Much has taken place. Some good stuff. Some bad stuff. Some stuff you’re still unsure about. As you walk into 2020 with a strange mixture of excitement and fear.

A new year is a reminder of redemption. A fresh start. A clean slate. An opportunity to become better. And nothing reveals this attitude more than our New Year’s resolutions.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with resolutions. I even have some myself. I plan to read through the Bible chronologically. Get a gym membership. Be less prone to procrastination. Stuff like that. But there’s one thing I really desire for 2020. And calling it a resolution doesn’t suffice.

I want to make much of Christ.

And what an unnatural thing that is. Scroll through a list of common resolutions and you’ll soon discover what I’m talking about. It’s easy to create New Year’s resolutions with one person in mind: me, myself, and I.

We long to improve our health. Better our relationships. Boost our reputations. Become better guys and gals. And that’s cool and all. But what about Christ? Where does He fit?

It’s not that He merely helps us become better people. It’s not that He resides in a genie bottle, waiting for us to ask Him for the strength to resist a chocolate bar and run a marathon. That’s not to say Christ doesn’t help us. He most definitely does according to His will. But rather than using Christ as a means to an end, I want to make much of Him.

I’m reminded of the apostle Paul. In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul pleads with his readers to understand the centrality of Christ. Writing to a people tempted by other voices, the apostle Paul reminds the church of his credentials. But through it all, he longs for them to see how his gains are dung compared to Christ.

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8 ESV).

The apostle Paul made much of Christ. He gave his life to Christ. Struggling through persecution, imprisonment, and difficulty. Not to master his agenda. Not to receive an earthly reward. But to gain Christ—his true treasure.

I don’t know about you, but I want to follow in Paul’s footsteps. I want to make much of Christ. I want to treasure Christ above all else. After all, Christ himself says, “‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’” (Matt. 6:21 ESV).

As we head into 2020, may we lay our plans before the throne of God, surrendering our lives to the King. May we seek to make much of Christ in a world striving to make much of itself, viewing Christ as everything rather than some means to an end.

As we work towards those resolutions, may we do so for the glory of God alone. To steward what God has so graciously given us. To fulfill our call to make disciples. To make much of Christ. Not only in 2020, but each and every day.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at