Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Tragic Truth Of Why We Are Still Victims Of Our Circumstances

Do you want to know the "secret" to successful living? It's not as complicated as people make it seem. It is certainly less complicated than the life we live, with all its tragedies and drama. Life is filled with bad stuff that break our heart and threaten to scar us for life. It doesn't matter if you are 12, 18, 47, 100 years of age, we have a heart and it feels pain. The secret to successful living is understanding how to deal with that pain. Most of us don't deal with it; we either deny it or put it away some place so we can take it out once in a while to experience it all over again.

The trick to dealing with pain so that it doesn't scar us is to know without a doubt who we are. You and I are followers of Jesus Christ, the children of our Father, a new creation, a people victorious, more than conquerors, the "apple" of our Daddy's "eye". But we don't always act like it. Sometimes we choose to hold on to the hurt, pain, and suffering. For some reason we want to wallow in it, without knowing that is what we want, when we have the power and freedom to let it go. We have been lied to about who we are. We have been lied to by leaders who don't understand themselves who we are. We are not what we were born as because Jesus has made us something new.

When we look at Jesus we think of him as God, so of course he was able to do all that he did. Yes, Jesus is perfectly God and perfectly man, but during his time on this earth he accepted to set aside his divinity to walk as we walk, with our limitations so that he could show us how to live victorious lives to the glory of the Father:

Who, being in very nature God, 
   did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
but made himself nothing, 
   taking the very nature of a servant, 
   being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man, 
   he humbled himself 
   and became obedient to death— 
      even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)

Remember that before he began his three years of ministry the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism. It was the beginning point of his teaching and all that followed. Jesus later said that we would do even greater things than he did and he promised that we too would receive the Holy Spirit. You see, Jesus did not do all that he did because of his divinity, that would not have been special at all. He did what he did by the Holy Spirit because he had to set the example for us so we would know what to do after our "re-creation" and receiving of this same Spirit. Very few of us understand and accept this and so we fall victim to the pains and hurts of this place. When we "keep step" with the Spirit, as Apostle Paul instructed us to do, there are some truths of the Word that become pillars of our life.

When we realize who we are in Jesus and the power that is within us, our priorities change. We are lifted up from the things that want to keep us anchored and mired in the tragedies of this life. Our values change and what we put our emphasis on changes so that emotions are more easily handled:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)

"Heart" denotes more than just emotions but represents everything that makes us human. It includes our emotions and our intellect. Where our heart is set our "mind", which represents how we perceive our environment, follows. We are talking here about our perspective, how we see life and interpret the things that happen to us:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)

So what we give priority to is what shapes us. If we give priority to the things of this earth then those things will shape us and we will rise and fall with them. If we set our hearts on things above, giving priority to Jesus, then those values will take priority over anything that happens to us in this life. Now let's add Jesus' instruction here:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Now let's put this to work in some practical situations so we can clearly understand what is being said here. If you make romance and falling in love your priority, if this becomes your treasure then you are in store for a lot of emptiness and heartache. You will rise and fall according to the emotions of your circumstances because you have given authority to these things. If you make "being happy" a thing connected to this world, with financial security, lots of toys or even just wanting the ability to spend money, you are in store for emptiness and disappointment. You will rise and fall with the circumstances of the moment. If you make your career, your health, your collections, your FaceBook, Tumblr, Twitter or anything similar your priority then you will rise and fall with the emotions attached to these things. None of this is stable or consistent.

Yet, our Father's love is consistent. His promises have been proven to be true. The hope he provides is never ending. His presence, purpose and power are out of the reach of anything on this earth. His love cannot be destroyed or removed from us. Nothing can separate us from him. More than any other relationship, he is the only constant of our life. In him we have victory for all eternity.

The thing to understand is that we were re-born for something greater than our heartache and losses. We all face losses in relationships, expectations, dreams and desires. This is a fallen world filled with the tragedies of sin, whether direct or indirect. Real success is measured when we are able to live in this tragic world without losing our hope and peace. This happens when our heart and mind are set on the correct set of values because we know who we are and who we belong to. We are filled by the Holy Spirit and we should be living a life that impacts others in the same manner that Jesus did. We cannot do this as long as we remain victims of the tragedies of this world. Our victory, along with our hope, joy and peace are found in Jesus Christ because we are hidden with him in God. The real "secret" to success in life is to keep Jesus as the priority over all other things.

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