The Impossible

There are few things more challenging than self-control. Self-control requires a level of introspection, awareness, and restraint. It is one of my most significant flaws as a person. I love my kids more deeply than they will ever know, but they can push me to the limits of my patience and sanity. However, to be a better dad, I needed to work on controlling how I react to situations.
Cooper has very big emotions and is timid when asked to step out of his comfort zone. Two weeks ago, our family went to Slidewaters near Chelan, WA. The entire experience is a lot for him to adjust to: crowds, water, and loss of control, all of which he reacts negatively to. However, I have learned that the best thing I can do is control my emotions and not respond to any negativity or surprises. I have to control myself so Cooper can process the new environment and feel secure enough to adjust at his own pace. The reward is that at the end of the day, he is begging to go down one more water slide and doesn’t want to go home.

There is no doubt that Christianity is grounded in relationships. Our relationships are predicated on the idea of putting others above our desires. Two weeks ago, in my lesson, I used the quote from Francis Chan, “It is impossible to ‘one another’ yourself.” Therefore, we cannot remove ourselves from the relationships around us, regardless of how convenient it might be.
Time and again, I see people removing this element from Christianity. Churches have become service-based enterprises where we are concerned about what we will get from the experience. This is not relational; it is transactional. Relational says, “How can I serve you?” Transactional says, “Who will serve me?”
The distinguishing characteristic of Christianity is: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Many religions see the benefit and beauty of serving and taking care of the needy. However, followers of Christ take it one step further: They will serve those who oppose them—they will serve their enemies.
Matthew 5:44-48 ESV – “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
What do completeness and perfection look like? It is rejecting the standard of this world, not only being nice to our friends but loving our enemies too, praying for those that have hurt us. What does it mean to be complete? It is to act the way God has toward humanity; he provides grace and mercy to all humanity regardless of their positional sanctification. While we were still enemies, God sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:6-10).
Following Christ means we don’t treat our friends or enemies any differently. If I am to bear the burdens of my brothers, I must also bear the burdens of those who are not my friends. If I am only hospitable to those I care about, am I any different from the rest of the world? What separates us from the rest of the world is we do something that, by human standards, is inconceivable.
I know I have shortcomings, but I am willing to work on those for those I care about. I would change any negative quality if it were best for my family. The true challenge is what I would change to benefit my worst enemy. If I would learn self-control to help Cooper, If I can hold my tongue to benefit Amanda, if I can do that for those I love, I need to do that for those against me. That is the hard part, and this is what the world would deem impossible.
“But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Luke 18:27

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