Life is a complicated journey! At every age, it is complicated. For a young child conflicted by a parent’s desire to use her sexually, the situation is complex. For an insecure teen allured by the seeming affections of a date who would exploit him or her, the situation is complex. For a single adult wishing to establish his or her own home, the situation is complex. For the adult whose boss expects him or her to be dishonest, the situation is complex. At every stage in life’s journey, demands are often complex.
To be a ruler in Palestine who had to maintain allegiance to Roman control was complex. The Jewish people in the first century hated their loss of independence. They viewed rulers dependent on Rome as enemies. They were endlessly on the verge of defiance through violence. They were almost impossible to appease. Ruling first century Jewish people was a headache, not a picnic! Their anger and volatility could make or break Roman appointed rulers! They often “broke” such rulers!
There is a small but insightful statement in Acts 12:3. Herod Agrippa I mistreated the church. The verse begins this way: “And when he saw that it pleased the Jews ...” Mistreating Christians was in his political best interest as he tried to rule some very difficult people, so he continued to mistreat Christians in order to make his work easier.
In life’s complicated challenges, always consciously keep service to God as a real option. When you deal with complex situations in your family, ask yourself, “Where is God’s place in my options?” When you deal with complex situations in your marriage, ask yourself, “Where is God’s place in my options?” When you deal with complex situations in your work, ask yourself, “Where is God’s place in my options?” When you deal with complex situations in your training, ask yourself, “Where is God’s place in my options?” And when you are tempted to be selfish in your decisions, ask yourself, “Where is God’s place in my selfishness?”
Who do you seek to please? Your wife? Your husband? Your children? Your boss? Your clients? Your peers? Yourself? Whose interests define who you are and what your life is about?
Ungodly people typically cannot be pleased. To the degree that they are ungodly, they are unappeasable. To the degree that a person is selfish, he or she is unappeasable. Godly people can be pleased when their focus is on God. To the degree that a situation focuses such people on God, they are challenged to do and produce good.
Who do you seek to please? Ungodly people? Yourself? God? The more it is your intentional aim to please God, the more life’s journey becomes a joy and the less it becomes drudgery. Making the reactions of anyone else the foundation of your life is simply too complicated!
Link to other Writings of David Chadwell