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A recent Calvin and Hobbes cartoon...
Calvin: "I've found the secret to serenity and inner peace."
Hobbes: looking very serious and interested.
Calvin: "I've come to the realisation that the world revolves around me. Everyone else will feel a whole lot more serene once they recognize that!"
We may not admit it very often, but most of think a lot like Calvin. We can't help it. It's just in our nature. After all, it seems logical that there would be a lot less personal conflict and a lot more happiness in our lives if folks just realized our importance and wisdom when it comes to life!
That's just what Satan thought right before he was kicked out of heaven. The funny thing was that almost everything and everybody in the universe did revolve around him...everything except the Throne of God- and everyone except God Himself. Here's the Biblical press release on the whole affair:
You were the perfection of wisdom and beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone--red carnelian, chrysolite, white moonstone, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald--all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. "You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Your great wealth filled you with violence, and you sinned. So I banished you from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. (Ezekiel 28:12-17 NLT)
Apparently Satan had it all: the looks, the money, the clothes, and the power of the highest position in the universe- second only to the Creator of the Universe. Yet all that he had was still not enough. Like many of us, instead of finding contentment in the abundance of his present circumstances- he deceived himself into thinking that serenity and peace would only be found in possessing something he didn't have. Only in his case it meant taking on God- and obviously that's not a very effective plan.
Wait just a minute though- before you consider the foolishness of Satan in fighting God for the Throne of the universe- look at the person in the mirror! Perhaps it's not quite as 'in Your face' as he was- but it's still the same old song and dance: I'm in control, not God.
Selfishness and pride. Where did we ever get the stupid idea that getting our way all the time would make us happy? Oh I remember now- from the same person we just talked about: Satan. He had to be pretty upset about being 'fired' by God, and now he'd like to see as many people as possible share in his misery.
The heart of Christianity is an upside philosophy of life. It is about seeing the universe revolving around Jesus, and making sure things go God's way instead of your own.
Do you really want the secret to serenity and inner peace? It's actually no secret, because Christ gave it away over 2000 years ago, and I'll gladly share it with you now:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full' you find yourselves cared for. You're blessed when you get your inside world--your mind and heart--put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family. You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that--count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens--give a cheer, even!-for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble." (Matthew 5:3-12, The Message)
I told you it was upside down, because Jesus' words here go against everything the world (and even your heart) tells you about being happy. Yet I think I'm going to get my instructions for life from the One who gave us life in the first place.
Bottom line- happiness in life is found in being 'others-ish' instead of selfish, and I would dare you to prove me wrong.
This week, try something completely different. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, take a homeless person out to lunch, spend some time talking to folks at a retirement home, share the message of the gospel with your friends instead of the usual laundry list of problems, read Matthew 5:3-12 so many times that you feel as though you wrote it yourself. Just do something to save yourself from yourself before it is too late!
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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