Just Bloody Stretch
A few years ago, a survey was conducted in the United States in which people from all age groups, social standing, and economic backgrounds were asked the question: “What are you looking for most in life?” When the results were compiled, the top answers were: Love (not too surprising) then Joy or happiness with the third greatest desire being Peace which included contentment and security. People everywhere in the world understand the best life must have in it: Love, Joy, Peace.
These very longings are found in a life joined in relationship with God. When a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior, His Spirit lives within that person and we read: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) There it is, within every Christian is Love, Joy, Peace … and a few other choice qualities to boot!
Yet, here’s where I often mess up as a Christian. Instead of living the best life overflowing with these good things, I end up barely living. The fruit of Christ’s spirit in me (and all Christians) is real. God’s love …. God’s perfect peace … the joy of the Lord is in our lives. For me, the problem is application. Love, Joy, Peace, is in me but I must be willing to live all this out. I can choose to love and live in love … or not. I can find things to rejoice in … or not. I can trust in God’s promises and live in peace and contentment … or not. I can live the best life … or not.
The Bible tells us, “continue to work out your salvation” (Philippians 2:12) In other words, with God’s spirit of love, joy, and peace in us, our place is to make a concerted effort to work these wonderful qualities out in our daily life.
Mark Buchanan was in a guitar shop thinking of purchasing a guitar. He was playing a song on the guitar when we began to struggle with the chords. He said, “I can’t play these notes. I mean look at these hands. I can’t play chords like that.” At the that moment one of the guitar teachers walked past and said: “Quit your sissy excuses … just bloody stretch.”
I’ve been a Christian for most of my life. I’ve studied the bible for a living. I know what the bible tells me to do to live the best life filled with Love, Joy, and Peace. Maybe you too know how everyday choices to show kindness and to dwell on the blessings of life and trust in the promises of God work out our salvation fruit of Love, Joy, Peace …. the best life. For us, it’s not that we need new insight and more instruction on how to live. We just need to do it. The words of the guitar teacher are before us: “You know what you have to do. ‘Quit your sissy excuses … just bloody stretch.’” Pastor Mark