Grace to You Hands

Grace to You Hands

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The New Normal

I marvel at calm, demure people. Those people that seem to never be flustered or unaltered emotionally in intense, frustrating situations. I, myself, lack those endearing qualities and tend to react irrationally in frustrating situations. I am sometimes more like the Jesus who took the whip through the temple than the Jesus who simply walked away from the Pharisees that wanted to stone Him. At the end of the day when you are rehashing the events of the day and your involvement in its success or demise, it's tough to admit that Jesus still lives in you and loves you. Even when you do right and everyone you know celebrates you and your amazingness, it really is Jesus who did that through you too. 


Colossians 1:27-29 in The Message says this:
"The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That's what I'm working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me."


There are so many wonderful truths deeply submerged in this text. I am attempting to reveal but a few that will prove how beautiful and wonderful we are even when we are our worst.


I agree Eugene Peterson, it is common sense. We are Christ. We are mature beings, capable and kind people who desire to do right. That is who we are. Here is the best part...even when we fail...miserably...and appall even ourselves, God still lives in us and is beckoning us to a more mature life. I love what Paul says "with the energy God so GENEROUSLY gives me." Hallelujah. God gives me the energy to be better next time. It is God who lives in me even when I ignore Him and fail. It is God who wants me to share in His glory and daily require Him to bring me into an even better version of myself. 


When you are totaling all your wrongs at the end of the day, interrupt your self-deprecation with "Christ in me, the hope of glory." Allow God to interrupt your failure with His glory. Allow him to generously give you the strength to believe you can be better. 


One lesson I learned in the last three weeks is in Romans 12:18. The verse says. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." How hard is this. My mom used to say, "This world would be a lot easier if there wasn't people on it." Sometimes you just want to fix your problems by blaming others or eradicating your opponent from your daily interactions. All of those desires are contrary to the word. "As far as it depends on you" forgive, let go, move on, and love. In order to accomplish this feat, you must receive God's strength. He is giving it out generously and all you need to do is make a simple request. 


Why is it that the Bible, the Word of God, is contrary to real life? When someone makes you angry, you want to tell them off. When your dog pees on the carpet, you want to back-hand it. When your spouse refuses to do the dishes, you want to storm into the bedroom and give the cold-shoulder. Satisfying our wants is our first instinct, our natural reaction. It's normal to be angry and react irrationally. We are human after all. It's not normal to bless those who curse you or not repay evil for evil. It's human nature to exact revenge. 


God calls us to a new normal. God's word is contrary to our flesh but to Him we are spirit beings created in His son. He sees us as mature, complete and entire. He sees us as He sees His son Jesus. We are complete in Jesus. Everything we want to be and need to be is found in Jesus. He calls us to a new normal, a new place of existence.


The new normal is not caring what people think. It's loving your enemies. Refusing to fix people and demanding the last word. It's denying yourself and living for others. It refuses to seek its own way and always let's others win. It's giving up your parking space or letting your child win checkers. It's paying someone's meal behind you in the drive -thru. It's refusing to defend yourself even when you have EVERY right. It listens. It supports. The new normal is comfortable in being behind the scenes and takes pleasure in someone taking the credit. The new normal will caterpault you to a place of leadership but you will only see yourself as a servant. Your greatest desire is for others even your haters to find success. You will lose the need to refute or prove your innocence. You will simply continue loving selflessly as you rise to prominence. Your newfound place of command is only meant for the other. It is not meant for your renown or reputation. It is simply a place of position where you die daily to live. The new normal is a life of unconditional love for all...even those who seek your downfall. Because in their attempts to destroy they will find their rescue. The new normal fails to follow the system.  God's system defies your normal. Pay little attention to those who will choose to resist. Stay true to truth. Love prevails.


The new normal invites those around you to be better. When you begin to love yourself unconditionally, you will begin to love others without conditions. They will become unconditional lovers of others and begin to spread the love. When we are loved unconditionally, we THRIVE!



It is time to thrive in the new normal and expect God to give you the strength to be the best you possible. 

This is why being a Christian is so awesome. 

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