Tuesday, March 18, 2008

From One Extreme to the Other

The Secret to a Balanced Christian Life - Contentment

It was one of those arctic cold January mornings in Minnesota… 20 below with a wind-chill factor of -45!

I waddled my way to the car and slowly sat down on the frozen driver’s seat. To my amazement the car turned over and fired right up. In a couple of minutes I was on my way to work.

I looked into my rearview mirror and noticed that it was a little out of whack so I place my hand on it and gave it a slight tweaking. Next thing I know I’m freely holding the mirror in my hand! “So much for that,” I said to myself as I laid it on the passenger seat and headed down the road.

Then it dawned on me, this was not the first time my rear view mirror had fallen off. I racked my brain to recall the last time it happened... Oh yes, it was a scorching summer day in central Florida. The inside of my car had to have been 115 degrees. “Talk about one extreme to the other,” I thought.

My rear view mirror had experienced both extreme climates. In each situation the glue that held it to the window had failed under these intense conditions. The Lord brought to mind how sometimes I fail to keep my relationship with him under the proper balance.

One minute I’m hot – seeking Him with all my heart and the next thing I know, I’m cold – and it has been days since I have seriously prayed or spent time with Him.

I have to admit I have spent much of my Christian life in the ups and downs, counting on the future and believing my life in Christ would be more satisfying, if only…

If only I didn’t have to deal with this situation right now… If only I didn’t have this struggle… If only God would have given me "that" gift. You get the idea—fill in the blank.

Lately the Lord has convinced me of the secret to a balanced Christian life. Though I’m not totally consistent, I have found that the secret is being content in Christ – not in my circumstances - whether I’m up or down or somewhere in the middle.

Does this sound familiar? The Apostle Paul figured this out and wrote to the Philippians about it.

“…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

It is interesting to me that Paul uses the word “secret” when talking about contentment. A secret is something hidden, concealed or unknown to others. Being content in all our circumstances therefore is not something that we can figure out on our own. True contentment is a secret that only Christ himself can reveal to us.

It’s not hard to realize this, just look around at our culture today and observe if any others have found the secret of being content. Sadly, many driven people today, including Christians, continue to go back and forth in search for true peace and contentment.

I feel I no longer need to search for contentment. I don't have to count on the future to reveal a better circumstance.

God's love is the only thing that gives me strength and brings me true contentment. I just need to allow Him to lead me through each moment of each day - whether good or bad, hot or cold... or from one extreme to the other!

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