You gotta love modern medicine! My first semester in seminary I came down with a nasty sinus infection. I went my local Urgent Care. The Doc prescribed some really potent antibiotics and I was back to my studies within 36 hours. Amazing and awesome!!
But this must be frustrating for some docs because not every ailment can be treated with pills. I think about the obesity epidemic and the numerous health problems that creates. There’s no pill that fixes that in 36 hours. But I wonder how many people think any health problem should be fixable in 36 hours with pills?!
This mindset is also prevalent in the church world. “Pastor, can’t you just prescribe a couple of pills for us to take that will fix our marriage?”
“Sure! Let me get those for ya! I keep them in my desk behind my ‘Knucklehead’ file.”
The ailment determines the prescription. Obesity requires something different than a sinus infection. Same is true with fixing marriages, character flaws, addiction issues, etc. Jesus says all these problems originate in the heart (Mark 7). But the heart trouble he refers to needs much more than a stent.
I believe one of the reasons people will fail to persevere in the faith is that they don’t want to invest in the long haul. It’s hard work! And it’s easier to thrown in the towel than keep at it when progress is slow and change is immeasurably small. But this is the way it works!
We live by faith in what can be. We don’t live by sight in what we want to be right now. This is what it means to set our hearts and minds on things above (Col. 1). Bottom line: plod ahead. Be faithful in the ordinary spiritual disciplines God has given us which he uses over time to change us into the people we’d like to become right now.
A few years ago, NBA great, LeBron James did an interview with USA Today. Here’s a man who has won multiple NBA titles and MVP awards. He has more endorsement money than any human being can spend in a lifetime. But in this interview, James reveals something Ecclesiastes-like to us:
"What really got to me [when we won the NBA championship] was how short of a time it lasted. The championship lasts (he snaps his fingers) just like that. The confetti rains, you go in the locker room, pop the champagne, you do the media, you have the parade and then it's over. It's over. You're looking around, and everybody's back to normal. I was like, 'Wow, that was an unbelievable 48 hours. I want it again.' It was the best 48 hours of my life, and I needed that again…"
Here’s a man who has devoted his life to basketball honing his skills for the very moment he speaks of when he’s able to pop the champagne corks and declare himself and his team to be the best in the world and what comes of it? “An unbelievable 48 hours” which causes him to say “I want that again…I need that again."
While James didn’t put these words to it, the sentiment is the same. His NBA titles, MVP awards, and money have yielded nothing; it’s a chasing after the wind. This is the result the philosopher professors confesses to us. All the pleasure, laughter, wine, and recreation of paradise are meaningless; a chasing after the wind. In them cannot be found the good life.
Augustine lived during the 4th and 5th centuries. In his perhaps most famous book, Confessions, he captures this notion well, “You have made us for yourself. Our hearts our restless until they find their rest in you.”
So how are you doing? Do you feel, at times, like the philosophy professor, exploring every avenue possible to find a deep sense of rest? Have you discovered that pleasure, laughter, wine, and attempts to recreate paradise haven’t yielded the results you had hoped for? Maybe it’s time to try something different. You were made for God. Your heart will be restless until it finds its rest in God alone.
In Psalm 16:11 David says this, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This is the answer we need.
There’s a ton out there on parenting. Let me just cut to the chase on what I believe were the two best bits of parenting wisdom I’ve ever been given.
1. The greatest gift I can give my children is to love my wife as Christ loved the church.
A healthy marriage will breed security in your kids. Children are far more observant than we give them credit for. They can sense when there’s something amiss with their parents’ marriage. A healthy marriage is a wonderful gift to give your kids.
What’s more, nothing contributes to a healthy marriage more than when a husband loves his wife just as Christ loved the church. How did Jesus love the church? He died so the church could be saved. He gave the greatest gift possible at the most expensive price possible.
A healthy marriage begins with a husband intentionally approaching each day as an opportunity to sacrifice his rights, needs, and desires for the good of his wife; to love his wife just as Christ loved the church.
2. For every one criticism my kids needs five compliments.
If my kids receive from me one compliment for every criticism, I’ll crush them. Why? We are born sinful. We are born with an innate sense that there’s something wrong with us. As a result, criticisms have a way of lodging in us while compliments tend to bounce off us. A one-to-one ratio will cause my son to grow up hating himself. Five compliments for every one criticism is a must.