My profile is on Facebook. Many people have sent a ‘friend’ request to me and I accepted almost all. I am thankful to several who accepted my ‘friend’ request to them. This helps me to know what is happening in the lives of my fb friends. I get to share and receive their reactions. I am connected. I feel good as I am related to my fb friends at some level.
My friend Rajaraman and I drank many glasses of chilled sugarcane juice on our way back home from college. We still remember those times whenever we meet. We cherish those moments. He helped me with maths. We played basketball together, and twice went on a long cycle ride. He enjoyed my mother’s cooking. He went on to become my best man at my wedding. I feel blessed that I have a friend like him.
Christine and I bought an apartment, recently. It is on the fourth floor over-looking a lake and set in idyllic settings. Lot of open spaces. Sitting in our balcony, we get to watch brilliant sunrises. After long days at work we sip cups of tea reflecting on a day gone by and missing our children in a faraway land. The joy of being together surpasses most other pleasures.The man who fears the Lord and walks in His ways is blessed with the two most important relationships – one, with his wife and two, with his children.
No wonder the Psalmist leading a joyous people as they ascend to the temple lists blessings of relationships as the best (Psalm 128). These blessings seem to be enough. Any other blessing is not worth mentioning in the same breath. The man who fears the Lord and walks in His ways is blessed with the two most important relationships – one, with his wife and two, with his children. The joy of these relationships are enhanced by the fruit of our labour. But we see many families devoid of joy and peace in their homes. They have abundance of things but no joy or peace.
John Powell, writing in his book, “Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?” says that the foundation principle in life must be to “Love people and use things.” But what we do is, “Love things and use people.” If that is true in our lives then we may have abundance of things but not peace and joy. Our lives will be littered with broken relationships.
Dave Ramsey, a financial consultant said, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” An absolute frustrating and futile exercise. When Jesus was announced to the shepherds is the fields, the angels declared a message of joy (I bring you good tidings of great joy) and love (Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!) but not of gold, silver and diamonds. It is better to seek peace and joy.
Christmas is a good time to ask ourselves an important question: “Am I pursuing relationships or riches?” “Do I enjoy my wife and children or am I busy earning for them to give them an ever elusive better future?” “Do I go to church and office to be a godly influence or network to consolidate my power?” “Do I care much for the happiness of my child or the dowry he could bring otherwise?” What are we after?The counterfeit pleasure of possessing things and power displaced the joy of loving God and loving people. That has always been the strategy of the Devil – to dangle the attractive counterfeit that we may reject godly purity. How can we overcome this trap?
Adam and Eve ate of that fruit in the Garden of Eden. They rejected a glorious relationship with the creator God and went after alluring prospects. Perhaps many today are no different from Adam and Eve then. People are sacrificing relationships on the altar of riches. God did not wire us like this. When Adam and Eve ate that fruit the wiring in humanity was short-circuited.
The counterfeit pleasure of possessing things and power displaced the joy of loving God and loving people. That has always been the strategy of the Devil – to dangle the attractive counterfeit that we may reject godly purity. How can we overcome this trap?
Christ came into this world that He may reconcile us unto God and that we will be reconciled unto each other. And to accomplish this he did not come on a flying visit in a space ship but experienced the traumas of a natural birth, grew up in an obscure hamlet called Nazareth and although innocent, faced the trail, conviction and punishment of a criminal, unto death. All for you and me to be forgiven and reconciled to God and one another. Are we reconciled?
- Our first step must be to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour of our lives. He will honour our invitation and come into our lives. Then we are rewired. We are born again and our outlook on life changes. We will be rebooted if you like it. We will grow hungry for the word of God. As we begin to immerse ourselves in the Word of God, we will see that what really matters is our relationship with Christ and all other things are secondary. This relationship defines all other relationships.
- Now spouse and children become dear. There is more love, more patience, and more grace. Things and possessions begin to fade and lose their grip on us. Money will no longer master us but we will be able to master it with changed priorities. As we become stronger in our families, we are able to better relate with neighbours, office colleagues, classmates and church members. There are no jealousies, the competitive spirit gives place to collaboration. We are able to look for opportunities to give and share. All because we will feel secure in Christ. We are rewired.
- Thirdly, we must be generous people in giving of our time, talent and treasure. Those who have tasted the Lord develop this characteristic and begin to experience the blessing of giving than receiving in a greater measure. Pray and ask God and He will show you where you must give. When you give it will always come back to you so that you can give more.
However, human nature is such that we need to constantly remind ourselves and practice the presence of Christ. We need to prioritize God and people over power, pleasures and possessions. Even if we had invited Christ into our lives some time ago and are living an other-centred life, we ought to be vigilant lest we slip into selfishness and self-absorption. Sometimes Christmas season can be the most susceptible time.Stay rewired with Christ. Pursue relationships, nurture and cherish them. Your relationship will be full of peace and joy. Other things don’t matter much.