Tension is part of our life. Tension if not confronted and dealt with will wear your out. If you are a believer, you have tension between right and wrong, good and bad. If you are a believer, you have tension between the flesh and the Spirit.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,
for these are opposed to each other,
to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Let’s look at the life of Job. in the first couple of chapters, he loses his wealth, his children and his health.
His wife’s advice: “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” (2:9)
Job’s lament: ”After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.” (3:1)
What I find interesting is the word “hope” is used 19 times in 18 verses. Hope is used in both a positive sense and also in a sort of mocking sort of way.
The tension of Job’s life is between
hope and surrender –
belief and doubt –
staying and leaving –
trust and anger –
truth and feelings –
living and dying.
Hope & Surrender
- Hope – patient endurance with great expectation.
- Surrender – declaring defeat
Belief & Doubt
- Belief – holding on to faith.
- Doubt – second guessing everything.
Staying & Leaving
- Staying – remaining spiritually grounded.
- Leaving – looking for something else.
Trust & Anger
- Trust – resting in God’s hand.
- Anger – running from God’s presence.
Truth & Feelings
- Truth – what has God promised?
- Feelings – emotional responses.
Living & Dying
- Living – continuing to get up everyday and being who and where God wants you to be.
- Dying – removing yourself from God’s purpose.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.
Therefore choose life,
that you and your offspring may live,
The first pastor I served under was a gentlemen by the name of Brannon Pinion, better known as Brother Pinion. He is probably the reason many people call me Brother Dan. He gave me a couple of lessons that have stuck with me for over 25. We were talking about some issue of which I do not remember and he said,
“You can’t die on every cross so make sure you pick your crosses.”
Here is the lesson. Everything is not worth dying for. Everything is not worth fighting for. You do not have to win every battle. Now, if you know me, you know I am very competitive. I do not like to lose, so this has helped me greatly over the years when I remembered to uses this bit of wisdom.
Think about these few situations.
Have you had an argument with your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend over something that really did not matter? Then it escalates because of the tone of voice one of you takes with the other. Then you begin to argue about or get your feelings hurt about what is not the original discussion but how the original discussion was handled.
Is every battle you fight with your children really necessary? Is it worth a fight to get them to eat all their food? Is it critical that they clean their room every day?
The examples could go on and on. Here are some example of people dying on the wrong cross.
- Lance Armstrong dying on the cross that he did not dope.
- Bill Clinton dying on the cross that he did not have sex with that woman.
- Barry Bonds dying on the cross that he did not take banned substances.
Here are examples of crosses worth dying on.
- A husband dying on the cross for his wife.
- A parent dying on the cross of being the spiritual leader of his home.
- A friend dying on the cross that they will not reject their friend because they are not perfect.
- A parent dying on the cross that church is important and the family will attend.
- A person dying on the cross that their finances will be under the authority of God.
- A believer dying to self so that Christ can live through them.
What crosses are you dying on?
PICK YOUR CROSSES
Lesson #1 – Jesus Is A Big Deal
Lesson #2 – Hold Your Rabbit