While visiting my dad last week, we had a stretch of heavy rain. Streams that are normally crystal clear to the bottom filled up with muddy water that you couldn’t see anything through! The amount of water running through the creek beds knocked dirt off the banks where the water doesn’t normally reach, and carried it away downstream to be dropped somewhere else.
We have storms in life that sometimes kick up the mud in our hearts, and that’s all others see as they watch us fight to survive the deluge — mud! We trade peace for fear, kindness for a short temper, joy for despondency, patience for frustration, gentleness for scathing remarks, and self-control for self-medication.
What mud gets stirred up in your life when times get tough?
The question is, what happens to our faith when the going gets a little rough? It’s easy to do and say all the right things when life is easy. But that’s not really when it counts. Anyone can do that! It’s when life gets rocky that the real test comes. Will our actions and reactions match up with what we profess?
The sludge that others observe getting kicked up in our lives can reveal what we actually believe is true, and may devalue the message we try to share.
- If we’re choosing fear and worry, are we really trusting God? “All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD! He is your helper and your shield.” (Psalm 115:11 NLT)
- If we lose our temper with friends and family, are we obeying Christ’s command to love one another? If we’re not willing to control ourselves for his sake, do we truly see him as Lord? “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34)
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
- If we allow the cold blanket of sadness and despair to wrap itself around our minds, why are we choosing to forget that we have been ransomed from darkness and eternal damnation? “You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:21-22)
- If we choose frustration over patience, why are we allowing pride to make us forget that God has ample need to be patient with us? “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- When our speech turns ugly, why are we forgetting that the person on the other end was created in the image of God, and is the apple of His eye? “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
- When we choose to feel better for a little while through things like comfort food, shopping, or finding the bottom of a bottle, are we forgetting that this very life is temporary but comes with eternal rewards? “He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.” (Romans 2:7-8)
We can talk the talk, but can we walk the walk when it really comes down to it? Is our faith deep enough to carry us through the storms of life, or is it shallow enough to be discounted by those who are standing back to see how we make it through?
Filter the Filth
We know in our heads many truths found in Scripture that never seem to quite make it to our hearts, and those truths seem lost in the deep when trials spring up. What are we to do?
- Meditate on Scripture. Dedicate time every day to reading God’s word. Driving to work? Think about what you read earlier that day. Can’t fall asleep? Ponder a few verses. Ask God to make them real to you, to deepen your understanding, and to plant them firmly in your heart.
- Dig deep. If you’re showing your sludge, why are you responding the way you are? Honestly try to discover what belief is behind your mindset. Ask God to reveal it to you if you’re completely befuddled. Once you’ve pinpointed the source, does that belief line up with the Word? If not, make a conscious effort to stand on what God has to say, and change the way you’re thinking about your situation. Your situation is going to change, but God’s word will never change! “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” (Luke 21:33)
Let’s freshen up, friends!