Tag Archives: Good Friend

Boxes

I hate to admit it, but I live in a box.  It’s a box created for me by others, by business, family, friends and the world around me. But the really sad truth is that I willingly climbed in the box and taped the lid shut…never asking if it was a box I should be in at all, never thinking about the implications of such a box in my life.  Like everyone around me I was given a box by someone somewhere and willingly made it my own and even wrote my name on it!  It became part of my identity.

Like children playing, making cars, houses and forts out of boxes we adults build invisible boxes for one another.  Boxes of expectation, roles, position, and a hundred other words to describe the box we have come to call our identity, or role, our “place”.  We never stop to think about what that box means, how it might affect us and our choices or the way we think. Our box limits our choices, restricts our vision, and frustrates our gifts.

This morning I had coffee with a good friend who told me I was living in a box.  He didn’t know where I got it, but he described it well.  As he listened to me he made me aware  of how restricted my vision had become because of the box I had accepted many years ago.  It was humbling to realize I had been given a box and had never questioned its role in my life.  Was it right? Should I get into it? Is this the way I should live?  Is this how I should think?

Without any questions I took the boxes handed me and made them my own. They have limited me, identified me, and restricted God’s work in my life.  How did I ever let this happen? Why did I believe this box was what I needed to identify me?

Children love boxes.  They aren’t so much fun when they define your life, your thinking or your values as an adult.  I can’t believe that I let this happen….happy to look out the hole I had cut in my box and survey the world around me….trying to make boxes like mine for others….only to find I had made prisoners of us all.

I’m taking a different tack today as I look at my thoughts and my life.  I’ve decided it’s time to be done with the boxes of childhood and walk in the freedom of the grace that Christ has provided.

Read Romans 8 as you look at your own life. What boxes have you made your own?  How have you missed God’s grace by accepting the boxes others have given you?

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

“I Just Wasn’t Being Fed”

My friend, James, wrote this wonderful post in June. I simply hadn’t read it until we talked about it this morning over coffee and so I had to go back and read his thoughts after our visit. These are great insights from a good friend and shine a bright light on our need for maturity. Thanks, James.

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Balanced Diet  

Several times recently I have heard the comment, usually made to justify changing churches, “I just wasn’t being fed.” Considering the fact that I have said this in the past myself, my reaction to hearing it lately is interesting to me.“I just wasn’t being fed.” By that do you mean that there was no [spiritual] food made available? Or was the portion set before you too meager to satisfy? Was it there, and you merely did not “eat?”When I was an infant, I of course depended on my mother to feed me. As I grew, increasingly I fed myself but my mother still specified and provided the food that I ate. As time went on, I could choose more and more what I ate, but largely it was still provided by someone else. Finally, in maturity, I’m largely responsible for feeding myself, even though there is almost always someone else involved in the provision of food.

One might initially be drawn to a local church because of a hunger to know the Lord; by feeding on the Word, one can learn who God is, who man

really is, what God has accomplished to reconcile man to Himself, etc. As a [spiritual] infant, a person does not know what or how to eat, and the church, through the preached word, Bible classes, etc. can feed such a person until that person begins to learn to feed directly on the Word. From passages of Scripture such as Hebrews 5:12-14, we see that there is an expectation for the Christian to grow to maturity, but not every one does, and as Theodore Epp said,

It is a shame for a person to have been a Christian for years but not to have advanced beyond the knowledge of his salvation.


That aside, is occupying a seat and listening to sermons the reason ultimately for church attendance? The passage in Hebrews, as well as many others, points at our maturing to 
love one another as Christ commanded and to serve one another as Christ demonstrated. This is not at all to diminish the value or importance of the preached word, but the church is a family where we each have a responsibility to one another, and “eating” once a week will obviously not sustain us in our love and service to each other, much less to a needy world. We must daily see to our spiritual sustenance by making our mind available to God’s Word. Viewed in this way, “I just wasn’t being fed” seems a pretty selfish cop-out.

Last weekend, my wife and I were visiting the town where I grew up. As we drove by the church where I went as a child, we noticed the sign out front which carried this stinging rebuke:

Christians often expect the world to respect the book which they neglect.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well and James at And I Quote.

Walking in the shadow lands

“Even when I walk through the shadow lands, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” -David, Psalm 23

I had coffee with a good friend this morning who is struggling with depression. It grieved me to see him in the midst of the shadow lands. It’s a hard place to live. I know. I grew up in the shadow lands. Depression is part of my heritage and a frequent part of my life. It’s not unusual for me to spend weeks in the shadow lands before I see the light of a clear day.

It was hard to see my friend struggling. He had never visited the shadow lands before. It’s difficult the first time. Depression is overwhelming if you have never experienced it before. It eats away at your energy, dulls your mind and makes the very nerves of your body tender. Walking through the shadow lands is a skill reluctantly learned, unwillingly done, but a wonderful blessing as you see God work in your life.

I gave my friend some tools to use as he walks through the shadow lands. They are simple things, but they really help. I’m praying for him. I’m praying that he, like David, myself and thousand of others, discovers that God is close beside him. That his rod and staff protect and comfort him as he discovers the shadow lands.

Today he’s just beginning a difficult journey, but as one who has spent years in the shadow lands I was able to encourage him and tell him that God is working wonderfully in his shadow lands. In fact, I think I have found my walk with God even sweeter because of the dark paths of the shadow lands. I hope my friend finds God’s sweet care as well as he walks through these dark days.