Summer Refreshment Series* – Live ABOVE the Chaos – You are a space maker.
How can you roll out of bed each morning and know that no matter what happens, you will be okay? The secret lies in these two truths.
Laurie O’Connor, Live ABOVE the Chaos (Alpharetta: Booklogix, 2014), 124-126.
It used to depress me that I couldn’t control other human beings. To accept that truth means an instant vulnerability to the harms of life. It means my life can be adversely affected in countless ways by those around me. Grappling with this reality has led me to the tools I now cling to in order to be a good responder, a good defensive player for Jesus. Folks, we can get up each morning with our chins up, our backs straight, and our shoulders squared in confidence because of the following two truths:
1. We have everything we need in Jesus alone.
“For in Christ, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over all power and authority” (Colossians 2:10). This verse is important to get. Read it again. Jesus doesn’t give us what we need. He is what we need. Jesus lives in you through the power
of the Holy Spirit. If you need strength, Jesus doesn’t give you strength; He is strength. If you need courage, He is courage. If you need wisdom, He is wisdom. If you need love, He is love.
When my feelings tell me otherwise, I can be found in places like the laundry room saying aloud, “Lord, I thank You that I have everything I need in You alone. I do not need my teenagers to cooperate with me, and I don’t need a day off. Otherwise, You would be giving those to me. Holy Spirit, respond for me because I am tired and angry. Override my tired body, frazzled mind, and strained emotions so the world gets to see You instead of me.”
On days when the rest of the world isn’t cooperating with me, I love the promise of 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” [emphasis added]. The all-inclusive language in this verse covers every situation I face and everything I need to do. Amazing.
The truth that I have everything I need in Jesus alone provides me with peace as I rise to face each day. The next truth protects me from feeling like a victim to whatever is transpiring around me.
2. No one can take away our power to respond.
I have come to understand that no one can mess up God’s story for me unless I allow it. Someone may speak cruelly to me, but I don’t have to respond back in anger and dim my light for God. Someone may let me down, but I can still respond in forgiveness.
People will notice a difference in us if we do nothing else but respond well to the world around us. If we love those who are not easy to love, we will look different from others who only love those who love them back. When you and I respond well, it’s like each of us becomes a movie screen that gives everyone who knows us the opportunity to view something else … something different … something bright. Since God is telling the story, our reaction will have impact. He will rush in and fill the space we give Him by stopping the shot Satan is trying to score.
I can trust that when I respond well to the chaos around me, I shine like a star in the universe in God’s story. So, I aim high. I strive to pay attention and respond well all day long to each sentence exchanged between others and me. There are no circumstances that grant a loophole or excuse a poor response. After all, my Savior was crucified and never sinned. So even in conflict, when overwhelmed with stress, and when poorly treated, I pray I exemplify Philippians 1:27a: “Whatever happens, conduct
yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
you want to shine brightly but don’t know where to start or what to do? Just start by responding well to those around you …
*Summer Refreshment Series runs from June 10-August 12. Each week, this series will provide an excerpt from Live ABOVE the Chaos, selected specifically to encourage you in the heat of your summer months.
Picture Explanation: Someone got braces.
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Whew! That was one I reread a couple of times. Convicting! Encouraging! thank you for bringing my focus back to Jesus and reminding me of Phil 1:27a. That is what’s really important and I want to honor Him in the difficult interactions.
Thank you for letting me know this was meaningful, so much so that you reread it a couple of times. Honestly, these principles keep me sane, keep things simple, and keep things doable in a world where all of our circumstances are complicated and layered.
Thanks, Laurie, for reminding me that “Jesus doesn’t give us what we need. He is what we need.” I need to keep reminding myself of this fact. Also, I need to be content with being different, because that’s what God has called me to be. God places each of us strategically for His purpose and for His glory. I hope that I might just be the “Jesus with skin on” that someone needs for a friend, the salt and light that they need in their daily life, and the word of encouragement they need in their season of need.
I absolutely know, without a shadow of a doubt, my friend, that you are “Jesus with skin on” for more people than you know. In heaven you will see the unveiling of what He has done through you.