Weekly Thought – April 27, 2021
Fred helped many clarify their thinking with his distinction between a problem and a fact of life. “A problem is something you can do something about; a fact of life is a given. It is foolish to spend any time attempting to change a fact of life… focus on solutions to problems.”
Handling Problems Correctly
A former pro athlete, now incarcerated on drug charges, said that his drugs were really a result of lifestyle. He said getting caught up in what the world said was the good life created bad problems. He chose to escape the difficulties by numbing himself with substance abuse. I agree with his assessment, but I don’t think he goes quite far enough.
It is critical to correctly identify the nature of the problem. Current culture says being a winner should be the normal state: we should always feel good, look good, and feel high. Living a life like a TV commercial is desirable today. The “before” and “after” model influences us. If we find ourselves in the before phase, we strive with lightning speed to move to the after. But we all know real life doesn’t work like that – instant results don’t happen. That is why so many reach out to consciousness altering substances for that sudden change. When change doesn’t happen on demand, the choice of artificial, synthetic means look desirable.
This misunderstanding of reality exists in the spiritual life, as well. Too often people don’t want the work of patiently going through spiritual transformation, so start looking for spiritual highs and fixes. The emotion takes over, replacing the steady study of the word, and the often plodding process of sanctification.
Wounds and hurts at the core of problems exist within a broad periphery. This is the area open to instant distraction and pain relief. Without authentic resolution the core of hurt continues to grow, eventually blocking out the effectiveness of any numbing choices. When that happens the problem overcomes the person leaving a sense of hopelessness. Many suicides occur when this emptiness overtakes. Another option is to give in to the darkness, deciding we are worthless and may as well live that way, jettisoning all self-respect.
What is the answer? The rejuvenation of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that satisfies like the washing and changing through the Spirit. The power of this is the living out of the transformation. We can have the head knowledge of transformation but our experiences must live it out.
The good life so many try to find to overcome their lifestyle choices and accompanying problems can only be found through spiritual rejuvenation and regeneration. That is the only way to the truly good life. Everything else may sizzle briefly, but will eventually fizzle.
This week think carefully about: 1) How can I make sure I handle problems correctly? 2) What safeguards do I have in place to stay consistent and authentic? 3) When am I most tempted to reach for a temporary lift?
Words of Wisdom: “When change doesn’t happen on demand, the choice of artificial, synthetic means look desirable.”
Wisdom from the Word: “We also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character hope.” (Romans 5: 3, 4 NET Bible)