September 11, 2009

Grit and Bear or Grin and Share

All of us face circumstances that cause minor and major disturbances in our lives. Many of us, if the truth were to be told, deal with situations that others could not even begin to wrap their minds around. We find ourselves "enduring" the "unendurable." Why? Because we must.

How we face and deal with these situations is very important as a believer. You see, as living epistles being read by all men, it is not so much the fact that we endure that catches the eyes of others but the manner in which we do so.

Paul prayed an interesting prayer for the believers at Colosse in Colossians 1:10-12 which The Message seems to capture and bring to life saying: "We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you walk in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. 

We pray that you'll have strength to stick it out over the long haul, not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory strength. This strength endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us."

During my lifetime, as with most people, I have endured many things. There is no need for me to make a list as we all have one that is ongoing. I have stuck it out but, upon reflection, see how many times I did it on my own. Using the brute strength of my stubbornness and physical resolve I am sure I was gritting my teeth all the while.

I made it, yes. But what kind of impression did I leave on others? Every picture I have in my mind of a person gritting their teeth is not pretty! They are red-faced, strained, exhausted, and in the end depressed.

I have often prayed for strength for myself and others to "stick it out over the long haul." However, this passage of Scripture makes me realize the importance of what type of strength I summon from God. We do not need grim strength as the results are--well grim.

We need "glory-strength" not only so that we can "endure the unendurable" but do so in a way that causes joy to spill out of us with thanksgiving to the One Who has made us strong enough to endure as we move forward toward our heavenly dwelling.

I don't know about you but I am tired of the whole grit and bear it approach to trials. I pray that God will help me to seek His strength in hard times so that I can grin in the face of adversity. Why? So that others may see and know that my God is Strong, Sufficient and Able. Not me, but Him.

We have the choice to grit our teeth and bear the trials that come our way or grin in the knowledge that He is our strength showing our joy in Him to all! The question is which will we choose?

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