Happy Labor Day Weekend! A day that our country has set aside to honor those who have made contributions to the development and workforce. That has nothing to do with today’s topic but it’s always nice to enjoy holidays and to remember those who work despite the holiday (armed forces, police, firemen, retailers, and those in the food industry). And now, back to regularly scheduled programming.
Picture this: two trash bags of toys (confiscated from the child’s room weeks ago), a quiet house and snacks. I did what any other mother would do! Pulled out my favorite snacks from heir hiding places, made a pillow throne on the floor from which to sort the toys (and eat) and watched a movie all by myself. It was great! The movie I chose was God Is Not Dead 2. I had seen the first installment and never really considered watching the second. Not for any particular reason but I’m glad I finally did. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie a young girl dealing with her brother’s death asks her history teacher about a comparison between Jesus and Gandhi. From there it hit the fan. The school suspended her, parents were upset, groups in the community pitted against each other and in the midst of that two young other young adults are working through their faith. Not going to spoil it at the end but it got me to thinking. There are moments we all face that we know instantly, whichever path we choose to take will have consequence (be it good or bad) but action is still required. What do you do in those pivotal moments?
In a culture consumed with picking sides or the idea that to agree with one is complete damnation for those you disagree with, it is paramount that we as Christians not only recognize but seize our pivotal moments. And truth be told, I had to get myself together after that movie. I realized that I haven’t had to suffer for using the name of Jesus or standing my ground in faith but that my moments are spiritual battles. Warfare against an opponent who thinks he is smarter, faster and more cunning than I. And in many ways, he is. But I have an armor and Savior who at the very mention of His name makes the spiritual army of wickedness shake with terror. Yet, in some of the most pivotal moments within our home, I am not aware until the battle has been in full swing. I have allowed myself to be complacent focused on things I can see or over-involved with my “to-do” lists and personal agendas to take notice that the silent treatment and pent up anger in my marriage or lack of patience in my parenting has pushed me to take those moments that could lead to peace or really nothing at all and turn them into a war of words and emotions.
And then guess what? Now everyone is miserable. God is not glorified. The Holy Spirit gets quiet. And there seems to be a void where peace and joy resided in my heart. I wish I could see the hands of ya’ll who know what I’m talking about. Those moments where your mind says “just shut up” and your mouth just keeps spitting out words. When you know letting it go and praying is way more effective but holding the grudge just feels more satisfying. It’s a vicious cycle that not only affects those around us but it tells a story to the world like you would not believe. See, a person with no joy or peace may not be easy to spot in a crowd but when they near you, you can feel it. Just like when someone comes close and you instinctively look for exits are hold your children tighter, the same response happens. You can feel the negativity and see the hollowness or hurt in their eyes. And when we as professed believers miss out on our moments, we take on some of the same attributes. And what could lead a person farther from Christ than anything else (in my opinion)? The idea of a hypocritical Christian! Complaining. Negative confessions (I’m broke, my kids are monsters, my husband get on my nerves). No peace. No joy. No prayer life. We just wander through existence like everyone without a Savior until Sunday morning.
So you see, recognizing these opportunities to take a stand and be obedient to the things of Christ may not just be about getting the promotion you prayed for, peace in your marriage, the conception of a child or whatever your prayer has been. It could be a chance to see if what you profess is what you will live out. At a point in the movie (backtrack with me for a moment) the main character says God asked her during a rough time in her life “Who do you say that I am?” That’s a big question, especially to come from the Creator of Heaven and earth. When our actions line up with knowing who God is based on His word, and not merely the picture the culture has created, then triumphing in those moments may not be easy but victory will be greater in our favor. And even when we miss the mark, those who have invited Jesus into their heart as Savior already have victory and rest assured, there will be another chance to get it right! What pivotal moments have you experienced, missed or are you currently in the midst of? We all have them, but I made up in my mind that when I face them, I want to go forth with a thankful heart, joyful praise and complete peace of mind. You with me?