Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Last Thing

We have a tradition in our family that when part of our family leaves home, those remaining stand and wave goodbye. It's a wonderful scene. Warm and touching. If only they could hear us saying. "I thought they'd never leave."

I'm just kidding, of course . . . for the most part anyway. Ha ha! But sometimes, the people we love the most . . . are the ones that can annoy us the most. Why is that?

Partially, I think it's because we spend so much time with them. We get so used to our immediate family that we can often take them for granted. We know how far we can push them. Why do we snap at our spouses or arch our backs so quickly when we are attacked over the smallest of things? Perhaps it's because we ourselves are . . . selfish?

I have a tendency to get very defensive when my beliefs are attacked or questioned. I tend to revert back to my worldly nature instead of dropping to my knees and taking a positive step to actually improve the situation.

Consider the early Christians in the following story. They had a couple of visitors for an entire week, and at the end of it . . . what did they do? The answer is in verse 5.

"Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed. When we had taken our leave of one another, we boarded the ship, and they returned home." - Acts 15:1-6

There is something quite different between the first Christians and those of us today that bear His name. For me at least, I think it's my lack of devotion to Christ that is the problem. I pale in comparison to the first Christians in their love for one another. I don't spend as much time following as I do wallowing. I need to make God my "first thing" instead my last.

The answer I think is in praying that God would change US, not them. Sure, some people could probably use some change in their lives too, but Jesus told us that we must first remove the plank in our own eye before we can judge someone about the speck in THEIR eye (Matthew 7:1-3).

What is the last thing these early Christians did with their brothers, the Apostles? They prayed. Not just one-on-one prayer but entire families . . . "wives and children" were also there. They all prayed.  When was the last time your entire family prayed about something? Other than giving thanks around the dinner table. In my case, never. Well?

This world is filled with broken people. You and I are two of them. There are fights and battles everyday. Some big and some small. Some last a day and some last a lifetime. Jesus loves us through them all, unconditionally.

The Book of Ephesians tells us to "be like Christ." Why am I still stuck here where I am then? First we must repent. Right after that we must submit. A good place to begin THAT work is on our knees. I need to step up my game in that department.

We all get wronged, we all get hurt. So, what are we going to do about it? Let us pray. Let us love. Let us be broken, together. Let us rise above it all. And let us become more like Christ to those around us. In that way we can bring glory to God. And isn't that what we're here for?

Broken Together - Casting Crowns
Rise Above It - Switchfoot

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