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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."  Emerson was talking about integrity and fortitude.  Your past and future are not nearly as key to what happens to you as your character. 


The history of humanity, of the family, of the church, and of the individual has always been filled with challenges of adversity, trials, threats, and fears.  It will continue to be that way until our Lord returns.  Life is about loss as much as it is about gain!  Pain and hurt are tenured professors in the classroom of experience, as surely as are joy and success.

How will we handle the hardships and disappointments of life?  It depends on what is within us.  More than that, it is determined by Who is in us.  Paul could say, "Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20; cf. Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10).  He is also emphatic that the Holy Spirit is in each of us as Christians (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; etc.).  As we fill our hearts with His Word, we are shaping and molding our character to overcome our past and prepare for our future (Ps. 119:11). We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:1-2).  As we are "renewed in the spirit of [our] mind" (Eph. 4:23), we better equip ourselves to face what we have to face in life.


That does not mean we become infallible or perfect.  The fact of our humanity ensures that, unfortunately, we will continue to sin and fall short of God's glory (Rom. 3:23).  But, churches, homes, and individuals have character.  The question always is, "What kind of character?"  That is determined by what (and Who) lies within us!

--Neal Pollard  

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