Fridays are my day off. I love Fridays. I get to lay in bed a little longer and think about things. Sometimes that’s good; sometimes that’s bad.
Today I began thinking about something that I heard Beth Moore say a long time ago: “Are you really strong or just spoiled?” That really resonated with me this morning. It forced me to think about all the pain that I’ve experienced in life and what I’ve done with it. Has it made me stronger or not?
A lot of times people think they’re strong or independent but the truth is, they’ve been rescued a lot. They’ve built structures to support them so they never have to deal with the realities of their choices in life.
The best way to recognize if this is true about someone is to observe how they handle hardship. Is it always someone else’s fault for their pain, their disappointment, their lack of success (however they define that) in life? They tend to do a lot of complaining and criticizing and fault-finding and have a general mindset that others lack value and worth.
This is not a good thing.
The truth is, no one has a perfect life. I don’t care how much it appears they have it all together. Everybody’s got pain. Everybody’s fighting something. Some people fake it better than others, but the reality is that everyone is dealing with some struggle of some sort.
So what do we do with that pain? Do we use it as a justification to abuse others to make ourselves feel better or do we humble ourselves and hug the monster, so to speak, and allow “patience [through pain] to have its perfect work,” thereby producing spiritual maturity in us?
As Christians, it should always drive us to our knees. Yet, even as we cry out to God, the goal should not be to be pain-free or even to manage our pain so we can continue to impress others with the exploits of our amazing life. That’s unrealistic. Everybody gets out of bed the same way in the morning — with one foot at a time. You can put a million filters on your life in an attempt for others to view you a certain way, but the reality is that the dysfunction of a spoiled life always finds its way to the surface for others to see.
The goal should be to walk in enough humility toward God that we learn how to rise above the hardships of life so the sorrow doesn’t get the best of us or worse, destroy us. Secondly, we should always strive to remain real — never forgetting that we’re not made to do it on our own. We desperately need God. We have to believe that. To not believe that means we really don’t serve God. We believe in us. Or our jobs. Or our gifts and talents. Or our money. Or our marriages. Or our families. Or our religion. Or the pain-free season that we’ve happened to wake up and find ourselves in for right now.
God sent his Son to die for us and live in us not so we can have a Pinterest kind of life, but so we can show the world what a rescued life looks like. That’s the truth of salvation. We are “made new” to offer hope to others when they feel hopeless. We are made to always point to Christ — not glorifying the pain we’ve survived, but glorifying the One who’s overcome it all on our behalf!
Life is about so much more than the sum of ourselves — what we can get or what we can do or who we can be. It’s about what we give to others and who we encourage with hope for another day through real lives lived for a real God. This is what we’re called to. This is what true strength is forged from.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
You’re loved, Saints,
Awaken and Equip
Faith Center exists to awaken people to a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ and membership in the church family and equip them to fulfill their God-given purpose of maturity in Christ, ministry in the church body and missional living in the world.