For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose  (Philippians 2:13)

Throughout our lives, resentment, anger, worry, fear, and stress led us to react in ways that caused chaos in our emotions and relationships.  We hoped that denial would protect us emotionally and physically. It didn’t.

And oddly enough, no matter the result we reacted the same way each time and surprise, we had the same horrible results.  I can remember as a kid, window shopping on a chilly evening with my grandfather.  We came to a hardware store and the lights were turned off making it difficult to see in the window.  My grandfather leaned over close to the window, trying to see and touched his nose to the cold window.  He jumped back and then leaned over and touched his nose to the cold glass again.  Yep, the same result, he jumped back again.

As funny as that was to see, that behavior is an example of insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time.  Don’t worry; we’re not talking about being crazy, we’re talking about bad decision making.   

Let’s define sanity for our own purposes. 

Sanity is “wholeness of mind; making decisions based on the truth.”  To make sane decisions based on truth we must know the truth. Let’s look at John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’”   We obviously have a hard time discerning the truth on our own so we must depend upon Jesus to lead us and to provide the strength to persist in the truth.  That’s right, depend upon Jesus for strength.

One of the toughest problems is accepting life on life’s terms and accepting people because they do not live up to our expectations.  Life is going to be what life is and you can’t change it or fix it.  You can only choose how to react to life.  Will you choose Jesus’ reaction or keep doing it your way?  

If you’re one of those who say life’s ok, it’s people I can’t stand.  They just don’t act the way they should or (truth be told) the way I want them to act.  Think about this.  Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ accepted you.”

Ouch!!  That one hurt. 

I felt it big time.  We must learn to have reasonable expectations of others and ourselves.  Stop relating to others in the same old ways.  Look to God through prayer and the study of His word to learn how He would have you relate to others. 

If I may suggest a simple prayer; “Father teach me to accept others as they really are, not as I would have them be!”

Once you begin to accept others, it becomes easier to stop fixing the blame on them for all of our mistakes and hurts.

I did not want my life to stay the same when God granted me an insight into my true condition.  I wanted my life to take on a new nature and I found exactly what I was looking for.  “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4). 

How great is that?  A new life is what we all want.

With this new life through Jesus comes the responsibility of adopting integrity and honesty as a way of life.  Frankly, the truth for many people is what they tell themselves this time!  That won’t work anymore.  We will begin to tell the real truth and follow through on our promises.  You will find that it takes courage to tell the truth and that courage can only come from our Higher Power. And as amazing it may seem, people will begin to trust us again. 

Not only will you begin to gain the trust of others, but you will also begin to trust in your relationships.  You will learn how to trust and you will learn about who to trust.  Keep in mind, a rewarding relationship requires that you have realistic expectations of the other person.

To have realistic expectations, you must trust your Higher Power. 

A relationship with Jesus Christ is the best of all ways to learn about how to trust and who to trust.  Are you afraid that one more disappointment will destroy you?  Trust in God for 1Corinthians 10:13 promises, “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out.” 

I know that many people are not responsible for what’s happening in their lives, but have they stopped to think that how they react can make matters worse and contribute to their depression and bad decision making.  If they choose to forgive and love like Jesus, their attitude will change to become an attitude of gratitude and joy.   I hope you noticed I didn’t say happiness.  Happiness is dependent upon circumstances.  Joy comes from living like Christ.

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By R H Clark

Ron is a retired pharmacist with 42 years of experience. He and his wife Kitty have been on mission trips to Thailand and Columbia. Ron lives in Rockport, TX and enjoys fishing, hunting, and riding motorcycles.

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