It is with a mix of anger, bewilderment and peace at the same time that I’m writing this text. I can only speak for what’s happening in Germany, to be more specific, for the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Recent developments here have made me come up with today’s title. To sum it up in one word, in my opinion, the current theme is and will be uncertainty. On all levels. We’re not going back to our old lives, I’m pretty sure. So what stays? What underground is my “life house” built on?
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”Matthew 7/24-27 (The Bible, ESV)
Sounds like a “nice story”? For me this is not just a nice story. I take Jesus’ words literally. And I (re-)build my “life house” accordingly. Does this make me seem “fundamental / radical / hardliner / you name it” in the eyes of some? Totally! Does this bother me? Not on most days, no. Why? Well, the answer is directly tied to the title of this blog text. So here they come, my all time non-negotiables. Not in any particular order, and I may have to add more to the collection as this life continues to unfold.
Bible: The Word of God, the Bible, sets the standard for my life. It is my filter so to speak. Jesus said that He alone is the Truth, the Way and the Life. And I believe Him. His Word ranks higher than any human opinion or theory.
Eternity: My perspective in life is not to become rich, famous or successful in the eyes of the world. My perspective is eternity. It is to hear these words when I come before the judge Jesus: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25/23).
Trouble: I know that in this world, I’ll have trouble (John 16/33). The greek word thlibó can also be translated “pressure (literally or figuratively), afflicted(-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation. This helps me to better understand and put in line the ongoings of our times.
Fear: I fear God, not men. I hold Him and Him alone in referential awe. Not fear like in “being afraid”. But the fear of the Lord which leads to so many good things of eternal value (blessing, wisdom, knowledge, protection, life). One of my absolutely favored quotes in the scriptures is found in Galatians 1/10, where Paul says: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” This! So in your face, right? I love it!
Thankfulness: Every single day I check my “thankfulness battery”. Why? Because thankfulness makes you happy. You can’t be grumpy and complaining and happy at the same time, can you? The Bible is full of exhortations to be thankful. And research shows again and again the positive effects that an attitude of gratitude has on our body. Check this out to find out more.
Forgiveness: Closely tied to the above stated are bitterness and unforgiveness. I must let God search and screen my heart on a daily basis so bitterness doesn’t have a chance to grow roots. Instead, the bible calls me to be rooted and grounded in love. Challenge accepted! Freely have I been forgiven, so freely (even though not so easy some days) I am to forgive when others hurt me. Ask my husband, it includes growing pains, but it’s worth it. Every single time. Bitterness and unforgiveness are dangerous! It’s like handing the key of your heart to the devil.
Humility: I must stay in the will of God at all times and fear not. Or like A. W. Tozer put it: “Outside the will of God, there’s nothing I want. Inside the will of God, there’s nothing I fear.” I think this is only doable when you come to terms with the fact that He is God and you are not. That you need to let go and let God. Release control. Start trusting the One who made you and holds you in His hand. He is so much bigger than you can think or imagine. And He loves you dearly.
I’ve got a feeling that this list may not be complete. But I need to push “save” and “publish” before my little five year old whirlwind of a son comes back from preschool. So please stay in touch, let me know what you think and make the best of today!