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Posts Tagged ‘#conditions’

Are you an if/then person?

You know, one of those who sees and seeks understanding of conditions and results.

I am, most naturally an if/then person.

If I study hard, then I will achieve high marks.

If I work with all my might, then I will be successful in my job.

If I sow good things, then I will reap good things.

The thing is … life isn’t always that predictable and it most certainly does not come with guarantees.

We live our lives as mere mortals, among mere mortals, in a fallen, sin-saturated world. Therefore, conditions and results do not always line up.

Students who study hard fail exams. Hard working people lose their jobs. We can sow good things in and around us and reap only that which is bitter.

These are the realities of living in this world.

Yet, this does not mean that we proceed through our days and lives with our knuckles dragging on the ground. Even when the if/thens of our life have faulty results, there can be joy.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

There is a strength that comes, irregardless of circumstances, if/then failures and failed conditions. It is a strength that comes from choosing joy … but not just any joy. It is a joy that we skin-covered souls can only experience and achieve from one source … it is a joy that comes from familiarity with God.

When we look at the failures, pains and destructions in our lives compared with the love and mercy and redemption available to us in Christ … we have true joy at our disposal.

If we choose Christ, then we will have joy in Him … though all around us might fall.

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I am an if-then person. It is most encouraging, even comforting to me to know the effects or consequences of my actions. In my perfect world if I spend time making a good meal – it will taste well, if I am kind to others – they will be kind to me, if I eat a salad – I will awaken the next day having lost ten pounds (sigh).

As I was reading in Philippians (2:1-4), the other day, I was excited to discover an if-then statement (until I realized that I am the conditional part of this equation) :

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

  • if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ
  • if any comfort from his love
  • if any common sharing in the Spirit
  • if any tenderness and compassion

Four ifs!

Lets take a look at them!

if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ
Encouragement from being united with Christ? Heck ya! I’ll be totally honest, I cannot imagine a life without the encouragement that Christ brings to daily life.

if any comfort from his love
His love is the ultimate comfort. Because of his love I can face any future, for he is the comforter of our souls.

if any common sharing in the Spirit
I am never alone, for the Spirit of God lives within me. He is my eternal helper, as Jesus declared in John 14:16.

if any tenderness and compassion
Have we any tenderness and compassion? Have we received these from the Creator of all? Have we been given compassion, albeit undeserved? But of course, yes to all!

then

Here’s where the rubber meets the road! This is the consequence part, this is where we are responsible for something, because of what we have received.

then …

“make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others

One could re-word all of this within the idea of the Golden Rule …

do to and for others, what I have done and for you.

This is not a suggestion, folks, but an expectation of those of us who claim the name of Christ as ours.

Love and humility … these are the gifts given to us, these are the mode of how we have been treated (undeservedly) by the God of all humanity. These are the expected byproducts of our receipt of his redemption, of his compassion, of his help.

May we honor Him as we strive to follow his example.

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