This is a truly significant word, think about it. Everything in life has a meaning and we seek to find it because our curiosity compels us to find out. What's the meaning of that? I was meaning to do that, but....okay exactly what were you meaning to do?
It is a word packed with promise, but yet it can really let us down. "I saw the way you looked at me, did you mean what I thought you meant?" "No, I was just thinking what great friends we are!" Bummer! "The meaning of what you just read is that you inherited a fortune". Winner!
Every day when I read a chapter or two in my Bible I have questions and then turn to a Study Bible that provides answers, usually. There are some times when their opinions raise more questions, and I believe that is one of the great adventures of life, we never fully know all the answers. If we did we would be God, and then maybe we understand the reason God did not want Adam & Eve to eat the apple.
It is the pursuit of meaning that propels us or dispels us with frustration. However, when we find that meaning of whatever it is we become enlightened and we become more confident in the process of how we found it. Confused? That's where the Holy Spirit comes in he is our counselor, our guide, our "go beside" to take us to where we understand what God is trying to tell us. He clears up every picture from a heavenly perspective.
Once he does, we continue to walk in that Spirit of understanding which clarifies meaning. Not always quickly, but sometimes slowly because God is not on our timetable. Monty Python thought they knew "The Meaning Of Life", but sadly omitted God from that clarification.
If we do, we will always be that person meaning to do something because we never understand what we are meaning to do.
Theologians and all other types of historical experts have cast Jesus in so many different descriptions. As the Bible says some say he was this, and some say he was that. Some say he was a prophet, some a heretic, some thought of him as a magician, then others say he was the Messiah. What do you think?
As we navigate through contact with a widely diverse group of people every day, some think of him as a discourager. As one who discourages doing what we really like to do and instead wants us to do what he wants us to. I can see that perspective, but if you really look behind the scenes of his ministry, and understand his points, we see a strong encourager.
He encouraged us to come to him like little children, as we would welcome our own fathers and mothers to teach us how to navigate life. He encouraged the marginalized to come follow him into a life where they could find peace and joy. He encouraged us to love and pray for our enemies as a solution to discord. And he encouraged us to find a relationship with his father that would give us purpose for living.
The discouraging part for many in their beliefs is that Jesus represented more do nots than do's. If we look at it that we are our own god and he is just there to support us then we can understand why there is so much confusion as to who Jesus was. It's like we created him instead of him creating us.
In the Old testament Book of Habakkuk, the prophet laments on what all is wrong with this earth (1:2-4). to which God answers, "Look, see what I am doing - be astounded - for I am doing something you will not believe or understand". He was discouraged, but God encouraged him to watch and see with faith.
It goes back to that old saying God is God and I am not. He encourages us to remember that when we try to define who he is!
Not sure if everyone knows the Serenity Prayer that we say at virtually every recovery meeting so let's repeat it for use in this blog: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
There is of course, an extended version of this but for the moment let's just focus on this simple phrase in our title. In reality what is it that we can change about our lives that needs to change? For me at present it is eating better, especially less sugar, and taking care of issues in my back.
While addiction and the changes that have to be made are those that surround this prayer in today's world, the courage to make other changes is just as significant when it affects our quality of life. Courage is the ability to take that step to stop hurting ourselves and possibly others, to break habits that are chronically destructive. This includes running our own show in life when we continually run it into the ground. It really starts there.
Rather than continuing a game of bumper cars where we keep running into problems, why not take the more excellent way where the problems just become a minor speed bump because the driver is in control. That would be God, and he is the first word in the Serenity Prayer, that is where it starts by asking him for the help to change.
In the last week at ATB six women were spontaneously Baptized and nine more folks came forward to make a change in a meeting Jen and I spoke at. It was amazing and it was a significant act of courage on their part.
Made me think, why can't I put down those Girl Scout Cookies? Simple, I forgot to ask God to help me do it!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.