Nor do I deal well with Christians who complain how hard things are or believe their circumstances must perfect or comfortable because they are God’s people. Jesus himself had a thought on this:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16.33b
Like persons both Christian and non, I have good days and bad ones–days of anxiety and days of confidence. But in all days I have a sense of peace, a peace that really is beyond understanding. It is rooted and grounded not in my circumstances nor my moods, but in a relationship.
And that is grounded in a even greater truth:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
So for now, I live on this side of the door,with all of its imperfections and limitations, challenges and crises, content with the “rustling of the rumor that it will not always be so.”
It was an interesting variation on the common anti-Black Friday rant on how it steals from the celebration of Thanksgiving or setting a tone that takes Christ from Christmas. It really was a photographic critique of our priorities.
The message is plain–we will cut short a holiday, stand for hours in the cold, risk bodily harm from fanatical shoppers, abandon all self respect and dignity–to purchase that “item”at outrageously bargain prices; but cannot be enticed or guilted into a commitment that benefits the well-being of our community.
What are your priorities in life–in the investment of your time? What are the values that you embrace that are reflected in those priorities?
Jesus once said, “Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.”
Where do you invest the treasure of your time, your relationships, your commitments?
It is where your heart is. All the Black Friday marketeers are doing is listening to your heart.
BY STEVE DUNN
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1
Almost 25 years ago I experienced burnout – for the first time. I won’t share my whole history of working too hard, worrying too much about measuring up, ignoring my need for rest, emptying without filling. (Perhaps some other time when we know each other better.)
At that time, I spent some time with a counselor. He made this observation. “You are one of the most responsible people I know.” (That was not a compliment coming from him.) Later he added, “You need to have a self to give it away.”
So often we put ourselves under too great a burden of performance in our spiritual life. Instead of knowing the joy of salvation, we know only the anxiety of trying to be worthy of it. It doesn’t help when the church has this list of things we MUST do to be a GOOD Christian and create a “to do” list that never gets done-certainly not perfectly nor consistently.
We seek to measure up to what we can never measure up to. And we become enslaved to expectations that were never put on us by God.
The truth is that God in His infinite wisdom and unconditional love knew we could not measure up. We could not be holy and He is holy without His help. So He gave us a wonderful gift–the gift of grace. His unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor.
And the key to that gift is to simply let Him live in and through us. To give up trying to be religious and live in relationship with the Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift.
You don’t “say”grace-you live by grace.
The result will be a person of joy and wholeness that honors and reflects that God who loves us–created us–and redeemed us as new persons.
It’s time to embrace the grace!
(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn
and chasing after the wind.”
I know, it’s Friday. I’ve been busy-Steve!