Of course we Christians attend church (or watch some form of it on TV), read and believe the Bible, listen to Christian music, do the Christian things, but it’s our inner convictions rather than our outer “doings” that really matter. That’s because when attacks come in their many subtle ways it’s those convictions that determine our reactions to the attacks.
This action-reaction principle is also true for people. Today I was with Frank while his work was being critically examined. Frank and the examination team are all coworkers, even friends. His work is always of the highest quality. And although the team was charged with helping to improve his product by finding imperfections, he considered what they were doing was accusing him of poor workmanship. His response was to lash out at them –not because of what they said, but because of what he thought they meant. Putting this in the context of Newton’s principle, the “action” was his thought about being accused and the “reaction” was his outburst of anger.
These responses are commonly referred to as emotions. They come in many forms. Some of the good ones are: cheerful, helpful, humorous, comforting and kind. The less desirable ones are: apathetic, spiteful, withdrawn, angry and contentious. People categorized us by our emotional displays. In Frank’s case, people consider him to be defensive and often contentious.
Everyone displays their emotions. But which ones have others seen come out of you in the last few days? Do they all qualify as “good Christian characteristics.” Be honest, what were they? While they are fresh in your mind, sincerely try to remember what brought them on. Now don’t avoid the question with simple answers like “She always makes me feel inferior (or mad, or frustrated, or. . .)” and not “I don’t know, sometimes it just happens”. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find an insecurity that triggered the event.
By now you might be asking “So what’s the point of all this?”
The title states “Christian Conclusions are Essential!” Your life experiences have brought you to conclusions about what you believe is true and relevant. That includes conclusions about your Christian faith. The book of James refers to this as your faith combined with your trials –or the testing of your faith.
Attacks will come. In John 1:33, Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble.” He didn’t say “If you have trouble.” Your responses to these troubles is determined by what you think about them. If you are secure in the Lord, then your emotions will be a display of the characteristics that we Christians claim to want. You know the ones. . .
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
According to 1 John chapter 4, God is love and He has nothing but perfect love for those of us who are “in Christ”.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)
Insecurities are the result of not trusting God. –Not trusting Him to use each circumstance to conform you and me into the image of His Son; –Not trusting Him to work every single thing in your life for your good and mine; –Not trusting Him to have our best interest at heart.
He has given you emotions to show you how you are doing in this life long process of learning to trust Him more. Look at those emotions and make a conscious choice to change. When you are fearful, accept the fact that He is truly in control and that He is using each and every opportunity to grow you. When you accepted His terms for salvation –life through His Son– you chose the path of life; now let Him be the guide of your steps.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Your Christian conclusions are evident through your emotions. You say you trust in the Lord. At the end of the day, reflect on where your trust was lacking and ask Him to grow you. That’s His job, not yours. And He is faithful to complete the good work in you that He began.
May God richly bless you.