Do You Have What it Takes to Pass the Acid Test?
by Walter Kahler
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Do You Have What it takes to pass the Acid Test?
What is the acid test? Simply, it is the way we react to people, places and things. Life is filled with constant challenges and is waiting on our response to its terms. It becomes complex in the actions we take in answering to its demands. The moment we awake in the morning we will come in contact with a wide range of interactions both good and bad. There is no escaping the reality of our humanism. This fact has held true since the beginning of time. The world is populated, and we are but a small part of the whole.
Letís take a look at some examples of universal recognized human tendencies in dealing with life. Anger is an emotion embedded in all of us, and we cannot avoid it. When we are mad there is usually someone else involved. Justified anger is associated with the wrongs others inflict on us. Resentments are reoccurring disturbances where anger has a stronghold on a specific injurious incident that we are unwilling to let go of. Rage is the point of no return because anger has gotten completely out of control. Rage is dangerous because the evidence is in prisons all over the world filled with inmates convicted of murder.
Fear is another frequent woe in the human psyche. This feeling has the capability of crippling our ability to formulate meaningful relationships with others. Sometimes we feel inferior to others because we lack and become afraid, and this prevents us from accepting others as they are. Worrying is where fear keeps us in constant anxiety because we are frantic over a situation. Anxiety brings on a panic and this attack paralyzes our emotional and physical being. Sometimes we are afraid because we do not know if others like us.
Pride is obvious these days because everywhere we turn the world is telling us to be selfish. There are many forms that it hides behind and every disguise it uses always places individuality as the number one priority. Pride takes over our intelligence and tricks us in believing we are smarter than everyone else. When we are self-seeking, it is pride fueling our motives to expect something in return for our generosity. Ego feeds our minds with thoughts of superiority by allowing us to feel how important we are from our personal achievements.
These are only three of many ways we humans use in relating to life and others. Each of us can add to the list, and this is proof of the similarities we all have in common. It is not by accident that we have the same emotional DNA but a truth of our existence. The importance of looking at these is only half of solving the riddle. Now this brings us to a pivotal place in acquiring effective and lasting way of living that withstands everything life can throw our way.
So what does it take in order to pass the trials and tribulations of our existence? Well the first painful ingredient is accepting our powerlessness over people, places and things. It is a tough pill to swallow in coming to grip with the lack of strength we actually have in mixing with the world. We all had had times when we tried to change someone else but failed. This leaves us feeling exhausted and mentally drained. The same holds true when we try to solve our problems through our own means. Once we come to terms with these facts then the only alternative is reaching for God. God is the only source powerful enough to direct us in the correct way of handling lifeís terms. Christ is waiting for us to follow Him so He can save us.
Next we have to rely on God for everything and not just in our troubling areas. God responds to willingness and actions. God was active in creation and still as active today. The way we know Godís activeness is through our experiences in the countless times He has pulled us through the turbulence of our difficulties. This is a great revelation because, without the difference, He makes there is no peace in resolving the critical issues preventing our development with Christ. Godís first commandment is to place Him at the very top of our priority list and in the Book of Exodus He wrote it down and Moses passed it on to us. Using Christ occasionally has some results because Jesus loves us. Imagine the unlimited strength that comes from building a daily and often an hour by hour personal relationship through active devotion. The more centered we are in Christ, the greater our ability becomes at staying on the narrow way because we have the shield of our Savior protecting us from the wickedness of the world. Our Messiah wants to be embraced and what better way to show Him than to make Him apart of our daily lives. Jesus will not let us down.
Letís take a look at the tangible results, Christ provides from placing our trust in Him to pass all of lifeís tests. Here we will revisit those three previous examples, anger, fear and pride. We will start with pride. A saved life has some powerful characteristics that only come from Christ and one of them is humility. Pick up any dictionary and look up the meaning of humility and you will find general agreement in its definition is the absence of pride. Being humble is surrendering our egos and letting Christ handle the results. The more we humble ourselves before God the further we distant ourselves from our personal agenda and live in His designed plan. We are no longer seeking return for our good intentions but enjoy selflessly serving God, Christ and others. We are granted the wisdom to understand the difference between our wants and needs. Another change in our behavior from living is knowing we are all equal in Christís eye regardless of our intellectual abilities. Humility is a byproduct from our actions in placing God first through a strong personal prayer life and treating our neighbors as we would want them to treat us. There is always something to be learned in our Christian lives and humility allows us to remain teachable. Another imperative quality of humility is the way it positions us in Godís hands to be healed from pain.
Now letís tackle the fear issue. Faith in action through trusting God brings about courage. Courage overtakes self-centered fears because the core of its strength comes from Christ. All people of faith have courage and this radiates through their ability to walk through calamity with serenity. In the Epistle of James 2: 14-26 it spells out faith alone is not enough. Faith without works is dead because saying it is just an expression but applying it is a series of actions. Persistently relying upon God in all our affairs opens the door to the kind of faith that will pull us through the most tragic circumstances. The power of Christ is second to none, but we also have to our part in engaging with Him. Complacency or procrastination are dangerous because we have exposed our weakness and invited chaos to take root in our attitudes. To be unprotected is unwise because evilness is always lurking and trying to find a way into our hearts. Once we are accustomed in the way God works then we can accept anything. This does not mean we wonít struggle, but the greatest advantage in resolving difficulties has been added by Christ.
Finally it is time to look at the resolution for anger. There is no record past or present that has promised the complete abandonment of anger. However, Christ will give us the tools that bring peace in situations where anger presents itself. It will not be easy but God assures us if we work with Him, there will be nothing we cannot overcome. The antidote to anger is love. There are several ways love expresses itself but the love God has is unconditional. He loved us before our conception because He already planned our existence. Christ loved us by being crucified, shedding His blood and bringing the remission of sins. Through our personal devotion we have tapped into a love that changes our hearts and we are able to forgive those that have wronged us. Forgiveness takes away the need for justifiable anger because we have learned all of us are sinners and we will hurt others. Holding onto this so called justifiable anger faÁade prevents us from truly forgiving because we feel the right be mad because we have been hurt. This is not implying the wrongs of others will not affect us but instead it teaches us the way Jesus handled these situations. Christís love leads to compassion and this makes it impossible to resent. Godís wisdom allows us to understand the truth about compassion because when we apply it our outlook upon others changes. Real compassion is being able to feel the pain and suffering of others because our unconditional love has opened our hearts to the distress of our fellows. In return we find it ineffective to be angry because we are all in the same boat. The more God centered we are the quicker we catch ourselves in our angry ways. The quicker we resolve our anger through the reliance on Him then rage will not appear. Unresolved anger leads to impulsive actions and rage can cause irreparable damages. Christ is the equalizer and through following Him our lives are filled with loving kindness. We become considerate to the needs of others and enjoy being kind. We have been awakened to the wonderful and magnificent world of our Savior!
Having what it takes to pass the acid test is measured in our development in living a saved life. Living in salvation goes beyond being baptized for it involves constant devotion to Christ. Being able to accept life on its own terms and the courage to change our defective natures in responding comes from building Christian characteristics, and this means surrendering ourselves to God. Each day is different, and we will falter at times but the difference maker is Christ. So now the question becomes am I willing, able and ready to have Christ take all of me?
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