Appreciate Life…In Christ
Posted on October 8, 2019 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” — John 15:11 (NASB)
For any of you that really pay attention to my comings and goings as I post them on Facebook you may have noticed that I have been hanging in some not-so-Christian places. Now before any of you go thinking stuff without asking me stuff, allow me to assure you all that it was nice to reacquaint myself with some friends from a very long time ago. It has served as a great reminder to me to see how far I’ve come, my desire to stay where I’m at and WHO actually paid the price to ransom me from myself. With that said, my wife got to hear how much of a basket case I really used to be.
And as some of the old stories got told, the one thing that stuck out was how badly I needed an attitude adjustment. I lived as if God was a boring and tedious after thought, all the while thinking that the sin I was involved with was exciting and fun. At times, it was funny to hear the stories but really sad to have these long-distance friends acknowledge just how much Satan had a grip on my life. I’ve been left wondering why these guys even bothered to hang out with me at all. I was an appalling friend…sad, but true.
But when I look into the Gospels, I see that children, sinners, skeptics, the rich and the poor really loved hanging out with Jesus. It was only those self-righteous, fake religious, inauthentic scribes, Sadducees and those wacky Pharisees that didn’t wanna hang with the King of kings and Lord of lords. I can’t imagine why those guys wouldn’t have wanted the fresh breath, life, energy, peace and joy that those filthy sinners were getting from just being with Jesus. Maybe that’s just me…anyway.
In his book, “Fresh Air”, Chris Hodges makes this point. “We can’t enjoy each day if we don’t have a high appreciation for life. In order to cherish the life we’ve been given, we must never forget that God is working out His purposes for good. Even when we can’t imagine it, even when times are hard and the pain feels unbearable, we must remember to exercise our faith and hope for God’s best.” This means having a vertically minded attitude and not one that draws its conclusions on the horizontal. After all, wide roads are meant for huge amounts of traffic that seemingly go every which way it can, but straight up is pretty much…straight up.
When it finally came time to make the decision to follow Jesus, I actually thought I was signing up for a boring life to live. Besides it was calm down or continue to slowly die, but that’s actually what Satan wants all of us to believe, that the Christian life is nothing but a boring chore to live out. Full of expectations that can never be met no matter how hard we work at it. And that is really the hinge point of our failure to live out and appreciate a Christ centered life. If we get our heads around what Jesus has taught us through out Scripture it makes what He told His disciples, in The Upper Room, easier to understand and apply to our lives.
AND, if you pay attention to the first chapter of Genesis, you’ll see how the Creation moment goes. God creates and it was good but when the account gets to us, male and female, the account goes a bit further into the plan and by the time we get to verse 31 we read, “God saw all that He made, and behold, it was VERY GOOD.” Not too shabby for an old story to tell huh? There ain’t an “oops” there, or a “I sure hope I did the right thing” there, on the contrary, it was very good. This means God was pleased that we were created. He appreciated what He created. We need to live in that.
In 2 Corinthians 6:4-10, the apostle Paul will list hardships that he has been through and will end it in verse 10 by saying, “as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” Paul is conveying to us that no matter what happens we can’t let circumstances squelch our peace or rock our faith. And as Chris Hodges puts it, “This is the attitude that all of us can share when we place our trust in God.”
I can’t really convey my thanks to those friends I’ve recently reconnected with enough. First, for putting up with the wacko I once was but more importantly allowing me share with them that I have found a new appreciation for life…in Christ. Yeah, I did share about the hardships along the way but it didn’t stop me from sharing the Jesus that saved me from me. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This:“Attitude is a little something that makes a big difference” — Winston Churchill
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. – Psalm 51:12
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.