At home, my wife and I are consistently surrounded by a whirlwind that happens to look a lot like our kids. They’re all adorable, but they’ve all been practicing their gift in wheeling-and-dealing. My eldest is phenomenal at persuasion and suggestion; she even knows the best timing windows to get what she wants! As we’re dealing with ‘Hurricane Bray’, she will approach us and ask for a benign thing or activity, but something we typically wouldn’t let her do or have. In the chaos of the moment, I forget to pause and collect my thoughts, and I utter out an exhausted, “I don’t care right now.” Sensing victory, as she was not given a direct “no”, she gleefully skips off to claim her desired prize.
I’d like to believe I’m a firm yet loving dad, but it takes only a little push for me to lose sight of my parenting goal. Sometimes it’s not even inherently bad, but it’s just enough off that I missed a mark.
We are surrounded by a much larger hurricane, named life. And while we are in the midst of the chaos, many forces look to take advantage of our depleted attention. Anything not firmly nailed down is vulnerable to the schemes of our flesh, others’ voices, and even the enemy himself.
Thankfully, we’re not alone. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul gave us astounding spiritual wisdom on how to deal with this very issue! In Colossians 2, Paul has these two thoughts almost back-to-back in verses 4 & 8: “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments,” and, ”See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual focus of this world…” Clearly there’s an issue with the audience being swayed, with whom I am just as guilty. His remedy for this problem: focus back on the simplicity of Christ. In verses 6 & 7, Paul says this, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
The imagery of a tree is right in front of us. During our ice storm this year, our massive oak tree in the backyard was damaged, but it was also one of the trees that didn’t collapse. Its roots were strong. We all take damage in life, but those of us deeply rooted in Christ are able to stand strong, not easily swayed by the throes of the storm. These are deliberate choices. Much like a parent, we need to take that breath and focus on our Creator. Similarly like a healthy tree takes in the nutrients and slowly grows and expands deeper into the soil, we need to take each day intentionally absorbing what Christ gives us through His Word and prayer.
I pray today that we continue to focus solely on Jesus, that we continue to be built up in Him, strengthened in our faith, and overflowing with thankfulness so that no force has the strength to sway us away from Him.