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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just right....

Neither too much, nor too little - how many of us can actually say we kind of operate by the "Goldilocks Principle"?  We don't want too hard of a bed, nor too soft - it has to be just right.  We don't want too much food, nor too small of portions to satisfy - we want them to be just right.  We don't want too much hardship, but neither do we expect to live totally without any - it just cannot be too overwhelming to deal with.  I think we all kind of live by this principle as we want to live by the standards which "suit" us the best. The only problem with this is our inability to really decide on what "suits" us best. We have a "warped" idea of what is "best" for us - because we base what is "best" on what brings us the most comfort, suits our present needs, or just plain doesn't cost us very much to obtain.  Not always the best way to make decisions, if I may say so myself!

And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me—banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence.  Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.  If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’  If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.”  (Proverbs 30:7-9 MSG)

Neither too little, nor too much - why?  Simply put - too much allows us to live just a little too independently and too little might just lead to us making a few unwise decisions which we not only will regret, but which will bring dishonor to the name of God.  If I get this scripture correctly, there is a fine balance God is looking for - one which keeps us close enough to him to feel deep peace, yet just hungry enough to move whenever he moves!  I think this is the principle taught in the Book of Solomon - being so content with God's love that we desire no other - our hunger drives us closer, not searching for something or someone else to satisfy us.

If we really stop to consider this prayer long enough, it might just make a good starting point for our year.  Most of us might dream of hitting is rich this year by winning the lottery and never having to work again in our lives.  Yet, in the most literal sense, we'd be miserable - why?  Simply because we were created to work - even Adam had the responsibility of tending the animals in the Garden of Eden!  Even the principle of the Sabbath teaches us we need some time off, but not forever!  Most who win big in the lottery have tales of woe to tell in just a few short years - for nothing satisfies quite like the magnitude of God's riches.

Some of us imagine this year to bring us closer to Jesus than ever before. Indeed, a good starting place - yet, if we draw closer to him and still don't reach out to others, we really haven't grown in the closeness he desires.  We might just have become a little more "religious" instead of growing in the depth of our relationship with him.  It is this relationship which brings us to the place of reaching out to others in need, seeking to share from the abundance of what we have found in our relationship.  To become so "heavenly minded" that we are of "no earthly good" is not what God desires. In fact, he desires we become so "heavenly hearted" that we cannot help but be of "earthly good"!

Neither too much - for it leads to independent thought and action.  Neither too little - for it leads to misconduct and damaged reputations.  So, where is the middle-ground?  Isn't "middle-ground" what some may refer to as "mediocrity"?  Nope, I think God has a perfect middle-ground for each of us which really makes us more "grounded" individuals.  It is when we are close enough to his heart to experience his heartbeat firsthand, and yet not content to experience this alone.  We want others with us in this experience, so we continue to reach out to those who haven't drawn close to him yet, drawing them into his presences and close to his heart.

Independent thought leads to independent action.  I am a pretty strong individual - sometimes too strong for my own good.  I can fix my own plumbing, but whenever I have to get down on my knees for too long to actually fit into those tight spaces, I find I don't bend as easily as I did before!  I can mow my own lawns, but I pay the price of dealing with my allergies when I do.  There are a lot of things I can do in my independence and strength, but the consequences of always doing things independent of God's direction and wisdom are not always those we'd like to experience!

A lack of contentment can drive us in many different directions, cannot it not? In fact, sometimes it drives us right back to square zero and we find ourselves relying heavily upon developing our relationship with Jesus a little deeper or afresh.  At other times, it drives us toward more "promising" ventures - but the "promises" of any venture which takes us further from Jesus is really not any venture we'd like to be on.  Trust me on that one!  

My prayer for us this year - neither too much, nor too little.  Let's get this "just right" with Jesus this year!  You in?