There is power in looking at your life on its larger contexts. What are life's larger contexts? Primarily, the largest context and reference in viewing life is GOD, HIS WORD, HIS WILL, YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD and LOVING HIM ABOVE ALL. Life's larger contexts also include heaven, eternity, serving God's purposes, God- honoring goals, responsible living, developing godly character and virtues, and MEANINGFUL and GODLY RELATIONSHIPS.
People who do not look at their lives on such larger contexts will be easily trapped by their little and fickle FEELINGS and EMOTIONS. And when such emotions are over - projected as though they are the biggest things and issues in life, many times, these could become self- centered, misguided and influenced by carnal and sinful desires. These could even become harmful and counterproductive. As a result, people who fall into the trap of such emotions that are not anchored on larger and God- honoring contexts easily get discouraged, disillusioned and mis-focused. They could easily get lost or sidetracked from life issues that matter most.
The apostle Paul has this to say:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).
The writer of Hebrews also gives us a powerful exhortation especially if we are facing difficulties in life:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
When we practice looking at life's larger contexts, it will produce godly and healthy emotions, feelings, and character - hope, faith, sincerity, faithfulness, truthfulness, joy, peace, self- control, wisdom.
A good example is in the area of LOVE and RELATIONSHIPS. This is actually a very sensitive spot and where many could become so gullible if they are not aware. When people will just see love and relationships from the context and value systems of the world and apart from the truth and principles of God's word, love becomes corrupted and relationships suffer. This is the reason why many relationships easily break up - marital relationships, family relationships, relationship with a special someone (if you are single and in marriageable age), and relationships of even the best of friends.
Notice some of the problematic definitions of love today. When someone was asked of her definition of love she said with a twinkle in her eyes, "Love is blind. Love is that feeling that when you feel it, you know you never felt it before...." Not only are these definitions funny, they are so nebulous as well! These are purely feeling and emotion based definitions. The elements of CHARACTER, moral ethics. Rational and objective thinking as well as wisdom are absent. Isn't it a wonder why many relationships are problematic? Why? Because of a problematic understanding of this most misunderstood and abused word --- LOVE.
Love that is confined only in the arena of emotions, physical attraction and feelings minus the moral guidance and parameters and truth of God's word can become sensual, sinful, carnal and destructive.
While there are components of emotion, feelings and even physical attraction in love, they are not everything. There should be a character component which should be the foundation for the emotional and feelings component.
When we look at love in the light of a larger context especially that of God's word, it is more of a CHARACTER - driven definition.
" 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)
Notice how it says, "...LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH..." Emotional feelings in the arena of love should be anchored on godly character traits and in the truth and moral commands of God's word. Feelings and emotions by themselves minus character, conviction and wisdom can deceive and mislead a person.
Somebody may ask," How can I know if what I feel is right or wrong? "What you are feeling is right when it is founded on the truth of God's word, when it is ethical, moral and not just emotional. This is because when feelings and emotions are detached from their moral foundation and context, they can really be detrimental. People who just allow their feelings and emotions to take over their lives find it hard to think clearly and objectively.
A good question will be: WHAT DEFINITION OF LOVE ARE YOU FOLLOWING? The world's definition or the definition from God's word?
Somebody said, "JUST FOLLOW YOUR HEART..." Sounds good but it is totally unscriptural and misleading. Scriptures says....
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)
This explains why even some smart people do dumb things. They simply follow their heart. They are on happiness quest rather than on truth quest. How can you follow something that is deceitful like your own heart? Don't just follow your own heart. Instead, the safe principle should be: FOLLOW THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (Proverbs 3:4-6; Matthew 22:37).
When you let God's word guide your feelings and emotions, they become wonderful and you will surely enjoy your life to the fullest. God's will revealed in His words as the primary context for living never limits your life , but it rather ENLARGES YOUR LIFE for you to become all that God wants you to be and to receive all that God wants you to have.
Don't be trapped by your own feelings and emotions. Be overwhelmed by God's bigness, goodness and greatness! Let God fill your heart with His love and you will become more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). Practice looking at your life on its larger contexts.
Jesus our Lord came to ENLARGE YOUR LIFE and fill it up to the fullest with His love, favor, goodness and unlimited blessings.
".....I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV)
God also wants your heart be overwhelmed with His love every day...
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV)
HAVE A BLESSED HEART'S DAY!
(A devotional reflection by Ptr Alex Garcia)