Things Look Different from the Front Lines

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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On a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago during the worship service Raegan did not want to cooperate and was determined to continue making unnecessary noise.  When she failed to heed the instructions of her parents, Jessica resorted to the big guns:  it was time to take her out of the church and use a technique that is not used nearly often enough for such offenses in our modern world.  As her mother was taking the high energy five year old out for discipline, Raegan had a question.  The misbehaving little girl most likely knew the answer but she asked it anyway:  “What are you going to do to me?”  I doubt if she was surprised when she was informed that she was going out to get a spanking. That reminds me of a story I heard years ago about a misbehaving child in church.  When the child’s mother had had enough and grabbed him up to take him out to resolve the issue, the preacher, who had also had enough, stopped his sermon and said, “Give  him a whack for me!”  Negative actions lead to negative consequences, but when discipline is correctly administered, as it was in Raegan’s case, it is for ultimate good and not destruction.

As we rapidly move into the holiday season and turn our attention to the coming of Jesus Christ to planet earth as a little baby Who was born under harsh conditions in Bethlehem, it is a good time to remind ourselves that He came because humankind needed spiritual correction that could not be achieved in any other way except through Him coming to pay for our sins with His own life.  The Bible declares our spiritual deficiency  and God’s corrective provision in Romans 3:22-24:  “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (New International Version).

After having just celebrated Thanksgiving, we need to be cautious that we do not fail to be thankful everyday, not just for material provisions but most especially for the hope that Christ brought to all who will put their faith in Him.  The unfortunate reality of life is that we are inclined to complain about what is wrong instead of being grateful for the good that God sends into our lives.  Perhaps a good remedy for this problem is to focus more on the things of God rather than on our problems and to become more actively involved in the things He wants us to do for Him.  Life is a battle and as children of God through faith in Christ, we are called to the front lines of service for Him.  One writer gives a reminder from his days in the Marine Corps of how serving in the heat of the battle can make us more appreciative of God’s provisions and less prone to grumble.  He shares these thoughts:  “One of my Marine Corps friends, who had seen more that his share of combat, once remarked, ‘The men on the front lines never complained about the food; it was the guys farthest from the battle who grumbled most when standing in the chow line!’  Life and death struggles has a way of keeping things in perspective.  Once we have moved into the front lines, nagging hindrances quickly fade away.”

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When we find ourselves complaining about the little mishaps of life more than we are thanking God for His goodness, maybe we need to examine ourselves and see if we are really in the battle of the Lord.  Remember that He went to the front line to make the way of eternal life for us, something we could never achieve by our own actions.  When we remember with gratitude what He did for us, it gives us a different perspective of life and what is really important.  The view is different from the front lines!