Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ever Wonder Why Some Christians Can Handle Life's Curve Balls?

Why is it that when serious difficulties arise in life, certain Christians remain at peace and still very much 'alive' while others succumb to depression and some even end up rejecting the faith they thought they had?  Well, interestingly enough, the Apostle Paul gives us the answer to that question in his letter to the Romans.  In chapter 8, verse 6, he writes, "To be spiritually minded is life and peace."

We see the answer to the question is that one needs to be "spiritually-minded".  And the best, or should I say the only way to be spiritually minded is to be filled with the One and Only True Spirit of God.

Now please, as you read the rest of this, don't go saying, "this guy thinks he's spiritual".  That's not at all what I think and that's not at all what I'm saying.  There is a big difference between being "spiritual" and being "spiritually-minded".  And the biggest difference comes with the idea that true spiritual-mindedness stems from being "Spirit-filled".   So, do detect the nuances.  For example, one can be 'spiritual' if one simply has an interest in spiritual things.  One tends to be 'spiritually-minded' if one then views the world through the lens of their spiritual knowledge.  The third state of being is that of "Spirit-filled", a Christian concept, which means to have the Spirit of the Living God dwelling within a person.

Charles F. Stanley, commenting on this verse, says this: "Spirit-filled men and women are not isolated from what's going on around them . . . "  In the last two days I heard of some world-wide calamities.  I learned about persecution of Christians.  I learned about death in the families of friends.  I learned about the loss of work by people I know.  And so on.  Each of these things are known to me and for some I broke down and cried.  No man is an island.  We are indeed not isolated from what's going on around us.  We can't be and many of us do not want to be, isolated, as difficult as dealing with some of these things can be.

Charles continues: "(Spirit-filled men and women) experience hurt and disappointment like everybody else."  During these same two days I had to deal with my own physical illness.  I felt disappointment in the progress one of our missions was making with respect to certain initiatives.  And there were other things.  Due to my illness I could not even get out to buy my sweetheart a rose or something nice for that special day we celebrate in February.  I could not go to my grandchildren school's bake sale for which my nine year old grand-daughter and two friends sold bracelets they had made to raise funds for a school in Kenya I will be visiting in a couple of months.  You see, we're all human and those that are Spirit-filled seem to have to deal with our humanity even more.  It is as though the devil has been told "no, stay out" of that Spirit-filled person's life.  And so naturally, that's where he wants to focus.

Charles continues: "They have their daily bouts with temptation."  No kidding.  Those that are filled with God's Spirit do in fact deal with just about every sin we can think of on a regular basis.  Temptation is not eliminated.  I see it on television.  I see it on the streets and in the newspaper I read.  Sometimes I get it from my own wife, in church no less and I start to distract her ability to listen to the sermon.  Sometimes I'm faced with it at my dinner table as my daughter is a great cook.  And so on.  Sometimes I deal with temptation that says "boy, I'd like to do so and so to so and so" when I think of some of my colleagues or board-members or people in my church.  The temptations are always there, even for or especially for, those that are Spirit-filled.  You see the devil goes after the bonus points -- Spirit-filled people who submit to temptation give him more points.

Charles Stanley now gives us the upside: "What sets (Spirit-filled men and women) apart from the rest of the world is their response.  When circumstances wreak havoc with the peace of Spirit-filled people, there will be some downtime.  But they won't stay down.  They refocus their attention on the big picture, acknowledging the truth that their peace is from the Lord, and then move on. . . . They know that "the mind set on the things of the Spirit is life and peace."

So there you have it.  How is your response to life's curve balls?  When one of them smashes the peaceful vista window through which you view life each day, what do you do?  Yes, you'll be shocked that the window, the one with the beautiful stain-glassed sectiona got smashed.  And the pieces are all over your beautiful hardwood foundations of life.  You will lament for a time.  You'll eventually go and get a broom and bucket and get down there and start cleaning up the mess.  Whatever it takes.  Then you'll look around and you'll start focusing again on the rest of the room and the rest of the beautiful home you have -- representing all the other aspects of your life -- maybe it's children, or your spouse, or your church, or your health, or your job, or your friends, or whatever was not damaged when that curve ball hit your life.  You'll see the big picture again.  And you'll know the Truth and the One Who is The Truth and He shall make you at peace again.  You'll get the window replaced somehow.  It may not be exactly the same, but if you ask Him, He'll fill the hole the curve ball made.  And then you'll move on.  And in the process you will have been refined and made a more experienced and stronger person ready to serve others better, for Him.

Life did not end.  Life did not even stop.  It just required you to breathe harder for a while.  Now you know the rest of the story about how some stay at peace during life's hardest experiences.



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