THANKS to Facebook and Twitter, wise (and not so wise) sayings flood our computer screens. Problem is, I forget 98 percent of them.
IMAGES STICK with me better than words do. Sharing time with the poor in Mexico and in Tanzania altered my life in many ways, much of it subconscious. Mental images of grime-coated children rummaging through Mexico’s landfills still stir my heart. During a trip to Tanzania, my compassion deepened watching the fourteen-year-old Maasai mommies doze off during an afternoon class on nutrition. Ironically, the undernourished girls had eaten a bowl of porridge for breakfast and wouldn’t eat again until evening.
MY FAMILY has come up with a new saying. It surfaces when one of us thinks aloud about a so-called problem or a decision that needs to be made. For example, my husband will say,
“Should I take the car to get it detailed or just stay home and relax?”
My daughter rolls her eyes. “Poor Dad and his first-world problem.”
THAT IMMEDIATELY puts the situation in perspective. We don’t live in third world poverty or famine. Our hardest choice of the day might be whether to barbeque chicken or buffalo burgers. Whether to buy a pair of Nikes or Adidas.
YET THERE exists another realm that supersedes both 1st and 3rd world issues. St. Paul brought it to light in a way that shook up my soul. He says, “…I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires…”
PAUL’S INSIGHTFUL letter to the Philippians showed me his eternal perspective and how the Embattled Spirit operates outside of both 1st and 3rd world views:
For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Phil 1:21-24
SINCE THE BOOK of Matthew had not been published yet, Paul had not heard Jesus say, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?”
INSTEAD, PAUL was supernaturally empowered to practice what Jesus taught, as proven when he said, “…For I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.”
“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me.” Phil 4:10-20
Do I drain my mental energy on
worrying about what I’m going to eat or wear?
Or on searching for my new car?
(1st world problems)
THROUGH WHAT lens do I process life? Through fear? Pride? Worry? 1st world? 3rd world?
What is a Kingdom lens and how can I know if I have a pair?
An eternal perspective
What really matters
A greater purpose
“…that your love will overflow…and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters—what’s of highest value and to distinguish moral differences—so that you may live pure and blameless lives—not causing others to stumble…. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by transformation in Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:9-11
Blameless and pure living
Not causing others to stumble
Wow! My perspective toward living has a ways to grow.
Equipping prayer based on Phil 1:27, Matt 6:31-33
“Lord, help me to live as an ambassador of heaven, conducting myself in a manner worthy of Your Message. Empower me to stand together with fellow believers in one spirit and one purpose, fighting for the faith. Teach me not to worry about what I will eat or drink or wear. These earthly things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but You, Father, already know all my needs. Give me a revelation of how to seek Your Kingdom above all things and to live righteously, trusting You to provide everything I need.
In Jesus name.”
If I pattern my life after Scripture, the fruit will speak for itself. No words necessary.
People notice. They recognize sincere-hearted:
Humility among the arrogant
Kindness in the face of cruelty
Goodness overcoming wickedness
Peace amid turbulence
Patience that overcomes intolerance
The Fruit of the Spirit manifested can be blinding.
“Let the light of my actions outshine darkness.”