Saturday, November 19, 2011

Life Is Not What We Get Out Of It But What We Put Into It

Wouldn't it be great if life was easy and everything simple? Imagine if all our plans always worked out and everything constantly met our expectations. It would be absolutely fantastic if no one and nothing disappointed us and our hearts were never crushed. That would be great. What a life. What a fantasy. I think it is some time in our teen years that we begin to realize that life will not always be fair and most things will take a lot of work and a lot of times the rewards will turn out a bit less than what we would hope. Teens shouldn't have to face a lot of this stuff but we are all in such a hurry to become adults. We are all in such a hurry to discover that life requires a lot of work.

Even when we are followers of Jesus we have to face situations that develop because of sin. It may not have been from our sin, it could be the direct result of what someone else has said or done. It may not seem fair but it is the hazard of living in a fallen world, riddled with sin and darkness. We need to learn quickly how to survive in this place and still serve Jesus with joy and peace. That's the point; it isn't enough to survive, we are meant to flourish in this environment so that Jesus can be glorified in us. We have to discover in our experience that Jesus knows all about this place, the darkness in contains and is wanting to help us navigate through. Sometimes he is there just to strengthen us to walk through it but we need to understand it isn't about us; it is about those who he sent us to be with.

There may be moments that we have to cry out like the psalmist:

To you I call, O LORD my Rock; 
   do not turn a deaf ear to me. 
For if you remain silent, 
   I will be like those who have gone down to the pit. 
Hear my cry for mercy 
   as I call to you for help, 
as I lift up my hands 
   toward your Most Holy Place. (Psalm 28:1-2)

That is not a point of weakness or a place of lack of faith. That is the point of remembering where our strength comes from. Seriously, it is a difficult place we are in, representing Jesus while dealing with tragedies and situations that arise from sin. Divorce, violence, theft, bullying, bankruptcy, hunger, insecurity, depression, cutting, eating disorders, lostness, all arise from sin, whether it be ours or someone else's. It comes from a place of selfishness and lack of love. There is no need for it but it is a natural part of this fallen world. It comes from the darkness.

There are days these things threaten to overwhelm us and we get a feeling of uselessness. As followers of Jesus we need to protect ourselves from these moments by keeping our fellowship with Jesus alive and fresh. When these things start having an effect on us we have to stop and lift up our hands to him, recognizing he is our strength and he has promised to carry us through. If we try it on our own we will fail and probably make a greater mess. If we trust Jesus, looking to him for strength and direction, it is amazing what he does in it all. This is important because it is how we walk through these moments that reveal our true heart for Jesus to the world. Our real character always shows itself in moments of stress. Before we enter those moments we need to already know the truth of Jesus:

Praise be to the LORD, 
   for he has heard my cry for mercy. 
The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
   my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. 
My heart leaps for joy 
   and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:6-7)

These are the truths about Jesus:
     - he always responds to our prayers
     - he is our strength
     - he is our shield
     - we can and must trust him
     - he will help us
     - joy is a state of being for his followers
     - thanksgiving is a natural attitude when we trust him

This is how we have been equipped to go all the way with him. We are living for his glory, taking part in his mission, we are his servants and he is always with us to assist us to serve him well. We should not be surprised at trouble or hardships, they are a nature part of our living in this world. It does not mean that God loves us less but that we are part of his team. We need to change our perspective from trying to get what we can out of live to giving what we can to life. We are here to serve, so let's throw off everything that hinders us from serving and get to work.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
   my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.

No comments: