Life Ballance


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in
Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6, 7

There are days, sometimes strings of days, where the background noise in my head is the
buzzing sound of worry, concern, and anxiety. It forms an uneasy and an
unsettling sense of almost random motion inside of my body; for, it is like all
of the drops of blood in my veins have decided to seek their own, individual
courses through me and nothing is working with the harmony that it should. This
tension consumes energy and depletes focus; it makes me indecisive, and it
makes me irritable, too. This is not a pleasant feeling.

The crazy thing about this state of mind is that I know the answer; I have been in this
place before, in fact, I have been there too many times to really count. The
resolution to this sort of disabling anxiety has always been the same. Still,
my nature just seems to need to get to this place and then to stay there long
enough so that, in the end, I can’t possibly claim ownership over the
resolution. The issues that cause the concern can be specific, and they can be
general. They are singular concerns, and they are many. They may be little
things, and they may be very large; yet, their resolution is always the same.
The specific answers vary widely, but the resolution does not.

Christ tells us that we need to take our worries, concerns, and challenges to Him.
There really is no need for them to grow and to multiply until they become
anxiety, but, at least for me, that seems to be the way that I function. Maybe,
in truth, this is the way that I dysfunction; still, it is the way that I am.
Even then, God tells me to come to Him. He doesn’t judge me for my holding
on to things for longer than I really needed to; instead, He tells me
to open my heart to Him and to let go of the worry. The Lord will provide the
answers. All of the concerns, issues, and situations that can cause
my stomach to churn and my hair to turn grey have resolution in the calm
wisdom that the Lord brings to my mind and to my heart. There is nothing that
He does not go through with me, and there is nothing that He does not have an
answer for.

 

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37: 3, 4

Sometimes where we are is where we should be, and what we are doing is the very thing
that will bring fulfillment to us and put a smile on God’s face. The job
that we have, the city where we live, and especially the relationships that we
are engaged in are usually gifts from Him. What we do with them, and how we act
while doing it are the things that we get to choose.

David is telling us that we need to embrace God’s view of life, for the Lord wants us to
trust Him enough to go deep into our world, to get to know the people who live
there, and to let them know us. When he says that we should dwell in the
land, David is telling us that God wants us to take up residence in our
world in a well invested and deeply committed manner. We need
to demonstrate our faithfulness to involvement in people’s lives.
This is the way that Christ interacts with me, and this is the way that the
Lord wants me to demonstrate Him in my community. When we bring love,
compassion, grace, and humility to our neighborhoods, we share the Lord
with our neighbors in real and understandable ways.

This all starts with trust and with focus. We need to trust God to equip and to
protect us, and we can count upon Christ to produce the outcome as we go out
into our world without the defense mechanisms that we might normally
employ. We need to turn our hearts and our minds toward Christ and
keep Him and His love clearly in view so that the real purpose and
Christ’s motivation for our actions stay continually
defined.

As we delight in the Lord and allow Him access to our hearts and as we live openly in
faith and trust in our community, God brings joy, peace, and
fulfillment to us. Also, our world will become a better place as one
person here and another there come to know the source of peace and love that
does change everything. With the Christ’s purpose in mind and His presence
in my life, this land is my perfect dwelling place.

 

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from
faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Romans 1: 17

 

Faith may be all that there is to cling to, and it might be
the sum total of all of the resources that are available to face the day. When
this is absolutely true, life can seem to be a very long ways beyond scary. Yet
in times when tangible power and quantifiable personal strength are not
present, faith is all that is left. We have faith that the physical laws of
nature are still in operation, we exercise faith that our human relationships
are more or less functioning along the same lines as they were yesterday, and
we accept as true that our society is following the same rules as it did in the
past. Faith takes us beyond control and creates a platform to stand upon in
order to function throughout the day.

 

Still, as important as faith is in these global areas of
life, it matters most when it comes to understanding who we are and our place
in the world. We were placed into this life with a purpose to fulfill. We are
granted the opportunity to have an impact on Creation that is restorative and
transformative. God has given the message of absolute truth to His people, and
He has also gifted us with the ability to understand the deep implications of
that truth for every aspect of our world. People need to embrace this fact and
stay true to the pursuit of righteousness for the sake of Christ, and this
requires faith. There will be times, situations, and circumstances when our
human reason and the voice of the masses will call to us with an utterance that
is too loud and too persistent to ignore; then, the only way to continue on the
course that Christ has set out is found through trust in His gospel of love and
peace.

 

Each step that is taken in response to Christ’s call moves
us deeper into His will. The deeper we go into the will of God the better we
know Him. As we know God we also come to know ourselves as we are intended to
be. This is the true journey of faith. Stepping out of the mainstream of our
world and into the powerful, minority current of righteousness takes a very
special form of courage. This is the sort of courage that Christ took to the
cross and beyond and that His Spirit gives to us. This is the sort of courage
that is formed in our hearts through faith in God.

 

 

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of
God; and so we are. The reason that the world does not know us is that it did
not know Him.

1 John 3: 1

You know, estrangement and isolation are not all bad; living as a stranger in this world
is also fine if this sense of separation is due to our movement away from our
old way of being and toward God and into His righteousness. There is a tension
that exists between God and the evil that has taken temporary residence
here in our world; we can feel it when we are conflicted between
doing what Christ tells us is right and what may seem best for us at
a given moment. These are times when the border war for our hearts has flared
up into open conflict.

We are all born into allegiance to God’s enemy; yet, even while we are so aligned,
God sees us as beloved children, as lost sheep. He calls, and He comes
searching, and He never stops loving us. Christ’s blood placed
the official seal on our adoption papers; thus, we already have
a new home for our hearts and our souls with God. All that is
left for us to do is to accept that gift by allowing Jesus in and by
trusting Christ with our lives. Then we become fully invested members of God’s
family; we are children of God in every sense and with all of the entitlements
that go with that status.

Our place and our purpose in this life changes, too. We are given the role of
peacemakers; we are commissioned to seek an end to the strife that exists
everywhere in this world by bringing the news of God’s love to conflicted
people. True peace is found when our relationship with God is active and alive,
and it is this peace with Him that matters totally. We need to embrace the
strangeness of this world in that the more we move into the center of God’s
will and the better we know His love, the more He will place us into contact
with people who need to be loved by God. We should let people see the
difference in us, allow them to know us in our estrangement from the world, and
we need to help them see the way to this new life of living inside of God’s
total love.

 

“And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and in His name
they will walk.” declares the Lord.

Zechariah 10: 12

There are days when the first thought that runs through the
mind after the feet hit the floor in the morning is along the lines of, “Just
where am I going to find enough strength to make it through the next hour?”
Whatever sleep there had been the night before was in no way sufficient to
recharge the body, and the mind and the spirit are still depleted to a level
that is beyond the red zone. Life with it’s never ending demands and with it’s
unyielding pressures can take any of us to this place of seemingly total
resource depletion. This happens over time; yet, it can become reality with the
events of an instant.

God, Himself, is always strong, and His strength is of a
nature and a depth that goes beyond anything that we experience in this world.
It seems safe to say that God’s strength is, in fact, both the source and the
definition of all righteous strength in the universe. The Lord is not selfish
or stingy with it either. He calls people to Him when we are weak and broken.
Christ came into our world and experienced the pain, suffering, and bone
crushing weariness that is the life experience of all humanity; still, He
overcame this world. Now His Spirit stays with us through all that we endure.
Christ calls to us to turn our eyes toward Him. He gifts us with His strength
and with His wisdom in it’s use.

As the Spirit provides the resources that are needed to
enter into the demands of the day, He also goes with us step by step and moment
by moment to provide encouragement and comfort in the journey. In Christ we
have an almost science fiction like ability to defy the laws of gravity and of
entropy. We are no longer weighted down by the inscrutability of the demands
and the pressures of life, and we are not bound by the inevitability of sin’s
decay and death. We are now transformed and renewed into the likeness of
Christ that was our original creation birthright. True strength comes from deep within, in our
spirits, and it is found at the source in Christ.

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;

to the one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God.

Psalm 50: 23

We can set out all sorts of things that we plan to give to God. There is nothing
wrong with the idea and the fact of giving up the elements of life that
distract and that divert us from focusing on Him and that interfere with
serving His will. Yet, the primary thing that God desires for us to give to Him
is our appreciation for and understanding of His centrality in our lives.

If this verse is to be an honest expression of our hearts, then God must actually
be the central focus of our days. We need to orient our minds and our hearts
toward receiving and acting upon His input, and we need to seek God’s loving
perspective on the events and the activities that we will engage throughout
life. When I do make God the central focus of the day, I find that everything
starts to make more sense; for, a sort of super natural order begins to develop
out of the swirling winds of people and tasks and priorities that otherwise can
tend to overwhelm me. The Lord is the master of orderliness and of calm. He
will cause the solutions to the most stressful and chaotic moments
and to the crises of the hour to unfold in my mind. He also gives
my soul the peace that it requires to stay strong and to trust God’s way
regardless of contrary external input.

There is only one right way to order and to orient
our hearts, and that is to reclaim the order of Creation. Jesus has answered
the need for a path back to that soul and life saving state of being,
and He takes the hand of anyone who desires to start the journey into
the center of God’s will; then, His Spirit walks every step of those
travels with us. Thanksgiving and praise make the long days short and the
hard times bearable. Take the moment to thank God for His role in your life;
recognize His will for this day; and open your heart to the peace, calm, and
order that Christ grants to us as we seek Him.

 

 

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the
presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through
Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all
time and now and forever.

Jude 24, 25

When you take a stroll along a path and suddenly, ingloriously find yourself planted
face down in the dirt, why did you fall? Was it inattention, moving too fast
for the terrain, a lack of adequate knowledge of where you were going, or
perhaps it was too dark to see the hazards ahead? The fall is always painful in
some way; sometimes real injuries are the result. Falling is never a good
thing, and we all get to experience this event from time to time.

When I am navigating my way through my day, the presence of tripping hazards seems
guaranteed; they will be there, and they often seem to emerge as if from out of
the ground. I have a bad habit of walking rapidly toward someplace, even
someplace very familiar, and thinking about an entirely different time, place,
and situation than the one that I am in. Suddenly, some part of my body,
usually my knee or my forehead, will collide with a solid object like a table
or a cabinet door; this is startling and painful, and it makes me feel really
silly, too. As painful as this is, it is much worse when the collision is with
a relationship or a moral or ethical value; unfortunately, this sort of
collision is also way too real to me.

In order to avoid as many of these trip and fall incidents as possible, it is important
for me to maintain clear and steady focus, to keep my life as debris and
confusion free as is possible, and to allow the brightest of the light of
Christ the opportunity to shine on me and on my travels. I need to orient my
mind and my heart toward Jesus. Like that satellite dish on the roof, when I
turn toward Him, I receive input and insight on everything that life brings my
way, and I am directed through the day by the loving Spirit of Christ. What a
wonderful partnership that is! Let Jesus, the Christ, into your heart, into your mind, and let His brightest of all
lights shine on your path today. Recognize Him for who He is, and seek His
guidance and direction. He will walk every one of your steps with you today.

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