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WHAT REALLY MATTERS

WHAT REALLY MATTERS

Dr. Bruce Atkinson
Special to Virtueonline
www.virtueonline.org
June 30, 2020

In her devotional classic "What Really Matters," Eugenia Price presents chapters that focus on faith, prayer, growth, praise, service, giving, what we are like, and our commitment to God. She expounds on the value and benefits of each of these.

However, in the final chapter she gets to what really matters-- His commitment to us. Since we are "in Christ," God never gives up on us, because He cannot deny Himself. Ms. Price provides examples suggesting that we are most reminded of this truth when God takes over and handles things--perfectly-- in spite of our own ignorance and clumsiness.

One thing I know for sure: at one point in my life (age 29), I committed my life 100% into God's hands. I meant it; God received it. I cannot imagine ever taking that commitment back!

The Apostle Paul wrote that he was "convinced that He [the Lord] is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12). Likewise, I trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in me toward full sanctification. That is my assurance, my security. It is about His love and His power, not anything I can do. I have work to do, but as Jesus told His disciples, the work He requires is easy and the burden is light... because He will be there both to motivate us and to insure the results are what He desires. And He will give us rest, if we will take it.

Price had to admit that some Christians, in their drive to make themselves acceptable to God, kept committing themselves over and over. Both Catholics and Baptists do this. But we don't need to; I see it as not only wasteful but revealing a lack of faith.

Instead, even when I'm annoyed and frustrated by my failures, I now count on His commitment to me. I find that by doing so I can begin to put my foolish struggles and fears into perspective far more quickly than if I agonize over my own stubborn streaks.

Price asks, "Where did I find this rest-giving truth? As I recall, I found it in one of John's letters. In 1 John 4:19, one of the shortest verses in the Bible: 'We love him, because he first loved us.' If everyone who has ever loved God was loved into it, how can such commitment be questioned? Some may question anyway: 'Don't tell me God loves me. If He did, He'd never have taken my son's life in that car accident!' Where in the Bible are we told that God will, while we are on this earth, eliminate accidents? Again, Jesus reminded us that 'in this world you shall have tribulation.' But He added: 'Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.'" In following Him, so can we.

Jesus does not yet stop the sin of fallen humans and angels in the world but He offers redemption from it and also a way to deal with it. And to me that always includes dealing with the suffering that results from the sin. God's commitment to us in our grief and pain does not-- will never-- waver. We have His word on it. Jesus Himself, knowing us as only He can, made this very, very plain: "...lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."

We know that He grieves with us over tragedies and that He will find ways, with our cooperation, to create good out of it. But He will not strip us of freewill, the ability to choose right and wrong. We are still being tested, so that we can discover who, and whose we really are. When we fully rest in His love and power, then we will be where we are supposed to be.

Dr. Bruce Atkinson is practicing therapist in Atlanta. He is a frequent contributor to Virtueonline

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