The Unstable Man with Sure Footing

Some days I feel on top of the world.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing their sweet songs at the top of their lungs, and life is good. Then the innocuous thought enters my mind and, as if it were a blender, things get messy. Like the pebble and the system of tightly wound cogs, the smallest thought can cause an otherwise great day to fall to shambles.

It doesn’t really matter what the thought is, but usually it’s something that has a tinge of hopelessness to it. Thinking about a tough situation or two that God has me in for His greater good, but that I have no power to get out of always brings my spirits low. Or it could be a painful thought from the past that, perhaps by God’s prodding, is brought to mind, but like a slow poison works its way from the back of my mind to infect the whole, corroding each perspective. In this sort of mind, God no longer is the author of hope, but the originator of my suffering.

We know that God is good, and that no matter what happens, due to His sovereignty, it is according to His perfect plan. Most of us Christians truly believe in God’s providence, that He’s in control and that there’s a purpose. I would venture a guess that no true Christian could be a nihilist, but it’s the thing I fight against the most. That pebble thought whispered in your ear, by your subconscious or by one more devious, that perhaps your life is one devoid of purpose, and it’s your fault. Or a trickle poison wondering whether that person really does think you’re garbage, or that everyone does, and they’re playing it up like you’re in an even more twisted Truman Show. Little thoughts that slowly remove a cognition here, a cog there, and leaves you without function. God and His providence is shoved into a dusty box in a musty attic, and all of a sudden you feel powerless and hopeless.

How do you live your life for the glory of God when you’ve forgotten what that looks like?

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Matt. 7:24-27

If you’re saved, you’ve built up your foundation upon the rock. Well, in truth, the only things you’ve ever built for yourself were made out of sand, but you get the point. You’ve been given the surest foundation to build off of, and it was a free gift given to you regardless of word, deed, color or gender. This is the grand perspective of the Christian, that no matter what happens in life, nothing exists that could pluck them from their heavenly Father’s hand. Yet, we forget this fact quick, and imagine life is only a journey of darkness, misery, and suffering, ending not with a bang but a whimper. God in His wisdom had the foreknowledge that humans would forget what He did if He didn’t have it written down, and today we have divine knowledge on the same device where we play Candy Crush (or whatever else we’re wasting time with these days). In this divine book we have the key to weathering the world’s greatest storms: build your life upon the rock.

In our incredibly, bafflingly posh lives, we forget the necessity to wage war. If you were to ask a room filled with me’s to raise their hand if they forgot they’re in a battle for their lives against sin, they’d raise their hands, feet, and whatever else they could as high up as they go. But while they did so, they’d have no idea what it means to wage war against sin. It’s a big, ancient concept that, for those of us who didn’t grow up in a time of war, goes right over our heads. We think that it must have to do solely with spirituality, because there’s angels and demons, or whatever you’d call them, fighting all around us, and that’s our experience of war. So we pray and pray, because that’s the most spiritual thing we can think of. I’d agree that prayer is incredibly important and truly impacts things, but we often forget that prayer is always a call to action, and that God uses us to accomplish His will here on earth.

So practically, what does it look like to wage war? Desire. If we always choose our greatest desire, we should pray that our greatest desire be Jesus. It’s a prayer that will always be answered, but if asked sincerely, must be the beginning of an action. To spend time in prayer, in the Bible, in thankfulness, and in community with our brothers and sisters, who are struggling too. If our greatest desire is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, then our actions will follow suit, but we must act. These actions could look like sending our friends a text thanking them for being caring, or for their encouragement, or simply listening when you recount your struggles, and reminding you that they love and care for you. It looks like working your hardest in the job you’ve grown to hate, because toil for the glory of God is always sweeter when surrounded by bitterness. The smallest action done in service to the Lord is bigger than anything we could ever do for ourselves.

This is the way that Christians wage war against sin, in the nitty gritty of daily life. If the devil’s in the details, we’ll meet him there and have victory over his schemes because God has changed our desires into His. For anyone who might be emotionally unstable, this sort of consistent effort sounds like a death sentence. But it’s the very consistency that gets you through the lows of life. God’s word is truly a lamp for our feet and a light for our path, and while sometimes you may find it dim, it will always be enough light to help you see when there is only darkness around you.

If you’re like me, and you find yourself suddenly in gloom, take heart. The means God has given you to find joy is always sufficient. Go to Him in His word, in prayer, and in service of others, and you will find yourself suddenly thankful and in lifted spirits. 

Unstable Christian, never forget that your foundation is sure.

Why White-Knuckled?

The Christian life is an easy one.

You’ve probably heard one (or many) such lies from the mouths of Christ-professing men or women who are after something. That something, of course, is not to live a life following Jesus, but is rather money, power, fame or you name it. All in the name of love, but a self-centered definition of love that makes a mockery of the words of Jesus Christ.

The same God-man that said,

…you will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

It seems Jesus believes that the common response to the Christian life is to hate it. The world, or those who do not believe in the name of Jesus, will not tolerate it, but act in vehemence against it. The kicker is, those that do believe also live within the confines of the world, surrounded by the world and thus cornered on all sides by those who will commend us for our good deeds, but condemn us for the foolish foundation we have. The cornerstone of our faith is doing all things for His glory, or in the world’s eyes, doing things because a mythological god in a fairy-tale told us to. That’s insane to the world, and they smile as they treat us as they would a psych-ward patient.

But we know what’s true. That for the Christian, there is hope, and that hope cannot be found anywhere other than in Jesus. The Christ Himself said that those who believe in this truth, and trust in this hope, will endure to the end and will be saved. And so, those who are now saved exist in a now-and-not-yet world where the promise of eternal life has not yet come in its fullness. The God who we believe in is trustworthy, and He supplies us with all that we need, and especially so with hope. Hope in the final outcome, where we at last will be in His presence in a world free from sin and unbelief.

I struggle with that hope.

That future seems so far off, that I often get caught up in the daily frustrations of life and lose sight of hope. God is good and always brings me back, yet I seem to always find a way to lose it again. For a Christian living among Christians, this can be devastating. But I find that Christian communities are hope-farms. It’s a place filled with encouragers, acting as God’s instruments to build up each other in hope, helping one another find again what they may have lost for a time.

That’s the purpose of this blog. To encourage you to hold onto hope, even if at times it feels like you have it in a death grip.

In the words of the apostle Paul,

Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen,

Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.