Monday, June 7, 2004
Wow! The world sure looks different on a foggy morning. I mean, the neighbor's houses aren't even there anymore, the hill I can see out the back door vanishes, and on the road, it's suddenly hard to find where you turn or to plan much beyond the car immediately in front of you. I remember one 40-car pileup that took place in our area because of dense fog. When it's foggy like that, it looks as if the world's going to be gray all day, but all day seldom lasts past, oh, 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning. Why? Well, the fog developed overnight when there was no sun to warm the air and evaporate all that moisture. Sometimes, when the fog gets thick, well, we just lose sight of the sun.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Burn Off Your Personal Fog."
In a way, the fog in your life burns off in the sun of two powerful words - words that are hard to say when the fog is thick. Our word for today from the Word of God leads us into the sunshine that burns off your personal fog on those days when everything looks gray. It's found in Colossians 3:15. You're about to hear three aspects of Jesus' life that we, as His followers, should be known for in our lives.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Three Jesus-factors that should characterize us: "The peace of Christ," "the word of Christ," and "the name of the Lord Jesus." Jesus-peace, Jesus-words, Jesus-uniform. Now that peace part really appeals to me. Notice they each involve the same key - an emphasis on a "thank you" lifestyle. "Be thankful ... with gratitude ... giving thanks to God."
OK, let's play back the tapes of you in recent weeks. Were you talking more negative than usual? Is there a tone of pessimism in your talk? Criticism? Is there complaining? See, the fog's rolling in and everything is looking gray to you. I can describe it because I've felt it. The fog's winning right now. What you need is the sun, and the sun is giving thanks.
That means making a decision to focus today on what is rather than what isn't, to focus on what God has done in your life, to concentrate on answered prayer rather than not-yet-answered prayer, to go through your day on a God-hunt, looking for where He's at work. Remember Paul and Silas singing at midnight in their prison cell?
Now when you stop living gratefully, when you stop saying "thank you" throughout the day and looking for the things to be thankful for, well, this dark, gray attitude starts to roll into your soul. But the attitude of gratitude is the sunshine that burns all of that away. See, at any given moment in our day, there's always a mountain ahead of us to trust Him for, but there's always a mountain behind us to thank Him for. So, make the choices that do not let the spiritual blahs start to set in. The fog doesn't ever have to last very long. A "thank you" attitude, a "thank you" mindset, is the sun that burns off your personal fog and turns the darkest day a whole lot brighter.