Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Connections Can Be Difficult

Chuckle: Flight attendant: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of us.”
Quote: "We long for expressions of love, but frequently at the critical moment, we pull back, afraid of closeness. Afraid of the very thing we desperately desire/need." --Marshall Hodge

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV).
Establishing meaningful connections with God and other people is difficult for some because of pride and independent spirit. We want to control our lives without needing God or anyone else. Many are in rebellion against God and His authority over them. Mohammad Ali became famous for saying, "I'm the greatest!" A boxing promoter, Don King, was once quoted in the LA Times as having said, "I never cease to amaze my own self - but I say that humbly." How can you say something like that humbly. That's like being proud of your own humility.
Humility recognizes we're not islands unto ourselves - we need connections to others. We need relationships. But many of us are afraid to confide in others. We won’t be seen shedding a tear. We fear being seen as broken and vulnerable. Jesus wasn't like that. He was the strongest man emotionally and spiritually that ever lived; yet He allowed people to see Him shed tears of love and concern for others. He let people into a personal relationship with Him. That's why sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, and outcasts were drawn to Him and found relationships with Him.
We also may avoid meaningful relationships because we fear rejection and being hurt. God says in Isaiah, "Do not be afraid, I am with you." From yesterday’s passage (Luke 10:38-42), maybe Martha had been hurt in a relationship. Maybe she was afraid to approach Jesus as Mary did. Some of us ask for relationships, but when people respond, we back-pedal for fear of being rejected. We may say, “God, I really want to know you.” But when the Holy Spirit begins to probe the inner reaches of our lives and convicts us of sin, we say, “stay back, God. You’re intruding into where I don’t want you.”
We're afraid of hurt and pain. We want love, fellowship, relationships without disappointments or pain. But without risks we never experience the joys of healthy relationships. There's no such thing as painless love. Jesus loved the world. It cost him dearly in pain and disappointment. A woman said, "I'm taking steps never to be hurt again." She was saying, "I never again will make an effort to build a fulfilling relationship with anyone."
Robert Frost said, "Do not build a wall until you know what you're walling in and what you're walling out." The Bible say, "Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18b NIV). God's love can help us overcome our fears. Because of faulty perspectives, the Unimportant blinds us to the important. We become envious of our neighbors. We get caught up in stuff and things which become more important than relationships.
Paul prayed for the Philippians (1:9), "This is my prayer that your love may abound more & more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is the best" Do your perspectives on life allow you to discern what is best? The best is a saving relationship with Jesus and lasting connections with others. Someone has said, “Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.” How are you at relationships?
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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