The Christian life is really a choice between a spirited, abiding life with God or one that settles for something less, then wonders why there’s something less. ♦
Or maybe you’re just in a bad mood. Crabby and irritable because you’re having a crummy day, or week, or month. Maybe it’s the boss, your family, your finances, friends. It’s any number of things that can take you out or move you sideways.
Yes, the angst, frustration, and sadness may be deep and real and drive you to distraction.
Now complicate it by being a born-again Christian.
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way
Many have the belief that the Christian life is about joy, happiness and bliss. Where’d we get that idea?
It’s Biblical, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. The great news is that we’re gracefully saved. Indeed, joy to the world, the Lord has come.
We cling to the idea though that since God loves me and I’m saved and going to heaven, then life should be happy, healthy, and terrific. So why do we feel that our life is going off the rails? Why are Christian people still so unhappy and frustrated?
It’s in our heads. No, I’m not saying that our woes are imaginary – they are every bit as real as night and day. I’m saying that many Christians approach life and all of it’s drama and trauma with the mind of me rather than mind of Christ.
That is, we go negative, fearful, and dark. We lose heart, hope and perspective. It’s a common pit for all of us to fall into. Hard to avoid it – we are after all only human.
But that doesn’t get us off the hook. We are what we think and do.
We are to possess the mind of Christ. And He’s not about ‘stinkin’ thinkin.’
We Have the Mind of Christ
Christ challenges us to “Stand firm, and you will win life.” (Luke 21:19). Paul warns tells us that:
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Here are a few more hard-hitting verses about how we’re to think:
- For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. (1 Peter 1:13)
- In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5)
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
- By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)
Oswald Chambers calls it “spiritual pluck.” The Oxford dictionary defines pluck as “spirited and determined courage.” Chambers calls us out and says that many Christians prefer to stay on the fringes of what they could be in Christ. That many are ignorant of the new life God has put within us and get sloppy with our own undisciplined natures. That our prayers for our foul moods stemming from our physical life condition are moot.
We’re barking up the wrong tree. Don’t do it, he says.
Rather, “take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and shake ourselves, and we will find that we can do what we said we could not.”
The curse with most of us, he says, “is that we won’t.” It is in this context that he concludes that “the Christian life is one of incarnate spiritual pluck.” (My Utmost for His Highest, May 20)
A hard admonishment indeed. But the Christian life is ultimately about the choice between a spirited and abiding life with God or one that settles for something less, and then sadly wonders why there’s something less.
Do you have incarnate spiritual pluck?
May God not find the whine in us any more, but may he find us full of spiritual pluck and athleticism, ready to face anything He brings. – Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, May 15)