“Jerry, my life has fallen apart,” the young man told me, using language too colorful for this blog. As he went on to tell me about the situation in which he found himself, I felt sad for him. He is a tough spot. As we talked, I wanted him to begin to grasp that what was going on was largely the result of too many short-sighted, self-indulgent choices he has made. Without making him even more discouraged, I wanted to gently help him to realize that his predicament should not be a surprise. He is feeling the full weight of the consequences of irresponsibility. The only way he will turn things around is to make some tough decisions. I will help him if he will accept responsibility for himself, but I will not ‘rescue’ him again.
There are things that happen to us that actually do surprise us, tragedies and hardships that knock us down, arriving unannounced at our front door. A hurricane blows through and destroys our town. Serious illness turns life upside down. Such things are times when we need a brother, when we must dig deep into the resources of our faith. But, there are many disastrous situations that we create by our own choices. If we spend way too much, living beyond our means, eventually debt will entrap us. If we abuse our body, health will fail. If we neglect spiritual disciplines and persistently refuse the voice of the Spirit, our soul will wither and faith will perish.
Christian, how are you living today?
Are you making choices for some hoped for result or are you indulging yourself, drifting with the current of the culture that surrounds you?
The grace of God is amazing and He promises to make all things new, to forgive our sins, to heal us. We rely on His love which is deep and persistent. And, we have a family of faith, people who are there to help us, to encourage us when life becomes a tangled snarl of heartbreaking or life shattering situations. But, we are called to ‘grow up’ and become mature, too. Peter says “Clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” The Message (1 Peter 2:1-2) “Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:17-18, NLT)
The person who grows into maturity – not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually – gains many advantages. He develops discernment and wisdom. He builds a store of resources that create greater opportunities and more freedom in his life. He finds respect and honor. He lives purposefully and at peace, with himself, with the people around him, and with the Lord God.
Are you in a tough time in life? Pray for understanding and insight. “Be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” (Ephesians 5:15, NLT)
Consider these principles from this word from the Word.
“He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.
A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:18-22, NIV)