Friday, December 31, 2010

Try Frenzy Free New Year

Philip Verghese 'Ariel' Family Secunderabad, AP, India



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By A Karen Davis

The job, the house, the family—how can you keep up with it all? Wouldn’t it be great if someone could give you a solution for getting ‘frenzies’ out of your life?

Sorting through my papers and my thoughts after a day of teaching helps me to unwind. The other day, a student's mother stepped into my quietness to talk for a few minutes.

"My life is all mixed up. I feel like a remote-controlled TV flipping from station to station. I've just about lost control." Anxiety filled her voice as she talked about the pressures of coping with her husband, who's overly committed to his job, her daughter, who always finds one teacher to hate because "the work is just too dumb to bother studying," and her own multilevel work responsi­bilities both inside and outside the home.

My papers sat untouched. But I listened, knowing that soon I would want to share how the God who works in my busy life could make a significant dent in this woman's spun-out-of-control confusion.

Later that evening, my mind reflected on a memory from my senior year of high school. I remembered being propped on my elbows read­ing the Bible when one verse seemed to speak aloud to me. "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (Rev. 4:11, NLV). That verse explained to me the purpose of my Christian redemption.

When I read this verse, I pictured an old-fashioned balance. On one scale rested my responsibilities. I wanted to live a life that glori­fied God. I wanted to honor Him with the strength of my youth. On the other scale was God. As my Creator, He had all power and knew the design of my life perfectly. He had intention­ally created me. I asked God never to let me look back on my life and wish that I had made differ­ent decisions. My teenage prayer was "Lord, let me live in a way that suits You."

I have since'learned that my prayer was actu­ally based on a principle called "sanctification." That's a long, unwieldy word that has a direct and clear application to our lives as Christian women. The frenzy of an 80-hour workweek, where we have duties at home mixed with a 40-1 hour-a-week job outside the home, makes us I acutely aware of the need for divine help to | defuse our anxiety. Understanding what sanctification is can help mold our lives so we become I holy and pleasant to God. Depending on the Holy 1 Spirit takes the frenzy out of our 20th century problems and gives us the control we need to live godly lives.
Understanding God's Gift of a Holy Nature
Sanctification is the process of becoming holy. Holiness and sanctification are concepts from another realm. They include being pure from moral evil and conformed to the image of Christ. Christian holi­ness is not limited to what we do during church, nor is it a certain way of dressing or walking, nor is it using a set of holy-sounding words. Holiness is a supernatural charac­teristic given by God. He gives us the ability to become godly and righteous, even when we live with a workaholic or an unemployed husband. This holy nature frees us from working to be good in our own strength, and it enables us to be godly individuals who do good works in His strength.

In a culture that has bought a relativistic set of values, it may surprise us to realize that God has given each Christian woman a holy nature. This means that the moment we received Christ as our Savior from sin, we were given a new life. God the Holy Spirit entered our life and began to reshape us. He may have entered so quietly that we are not really aware of His presence, but He is there. Just as a baby receives a genetic code at birth, the Christian woman is given the gift of holiness at her spiritual birth. Although the baby doesn't know she has a genetic code, the code sets parame­ters that mold her character.

Let me illustrate by using our two daughters. Helen loves draw­ing and, as I write this, is studying audiovisual communication at Moody Bible Institute. Susan is considering taking Geometry and Algebra II in her sophomore year because she thrives on math. Although the girls have different talents and different interests, they have our genetic code within them. They will never have high cheekbones; they will probably not become lawyers. In the same way, Christian women live their lives differently from one another, but God implanted within each one the Spirit-given code of Christ's holiness.
Trusting That God's Desires for Us Are Good
When I decided to bake my first cake (chocolate, of course), my mother gave me an illustrated
'I feel like a remote-controlled TV flipping from station to station. I've just about lost control.'
Children’s cookbook. Since the picture next to my recipe showed a child using a wooden spoon, I insisted on doing so too. No amount of persuasion could con­vince me to use the Hamilton Beach mixer. My 11-year-old hands did their best, but the cake had a hump on one side and large air bubbles throughout. Family members dutifully ate some cake at dinner, but the rest of the cake mysteriously vanished. I learned my lesson: Follow good advice.

The Holy Spirit is the Teacher-Guide in the Christian's life. We can take His advice. Like the Hamilton Beach mixer, He pro­vides the power to mix the ele­ments of our life to produce an excellent product—a holy, Christlike life.

How can a Christian woman learn to depend on the Spirit of, God day by busy day? Just as I had to learn what the mixer was for and how to use it, Christians must be aware that the Spirit is there and wants to help us when our daughter refuses to study for an exam or our son comes in late Saturday night. We must choose daily to be led by God's Spirit. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14, KJV).

First, we must acknowledge that we cannot please a holy God unless we're willing to live a holy life with the Spirit of holiness directing us to put aside sin (v. 2). Each of us can define what sins keep us from living a holy life. It's worth the time it takes to examine our life and confess whatever sins God draws to our attention. Identifying and confessing sin cleanses our spiritual life.

Second, we must yield our "I can do it myself" willfulness. Jesus said it this way: "Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full" (John 16:24, NASB). Ask for help and receive it.

Good baking starts with a cook­book. Following our own direc­tions will result in failure. The Christian needs to read and follow the Bible for directions. We must schedule daily reading time and have a teachable heart.

When we let the Spirit change us from the inside out, these changes will make us increasingly

Christlike. The Spirit's work is not
merely behavior modification; it is internal modification. He works

within us to make us want God's will in our lives. That is freedom from frenzy—2011 style.

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