For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christ of the Ups and Downs

Monday is a bad day to write a blog.  Sometimes.  I've mentioned before how Mondays are a bit of a challenge for pastors in particular, because many pastors alternate between Mondays of great joy and great frustration.  Ups and downs. 

So writing a blog on Monday can be something that is extremely fun and exciting and encouraging for me.  Or it can be a cathartic experience of venting frustration and...well, you get the idea.  Ups and downs.

This Monday has seen both.  Woke up late with a headache.  Down.  Ground up and brewed some Reindeer Blend from Caribou Coffee.  Up.  Frustrated by my own ability to get frustrated.  Down.  Read about and remembered God's grace.  Up. 

Then it's time to check the latest on the net.  Read about some stupid decision by an appellate court.  Down.  Read a nice little article about Worrywarts.  Up and down (both encouragement and conviction).  Watched a cute Coke commercial making its rounds.  Up.

Amazing how our emotions can do that, isn't it?  Even in a short amount of time.  Up and down, up and down.  And really, it's not just a few minutes on the internet. Life is like that anyway, isn't it?  Ups and downs.  It's to be expected.  

The problem comes when we let our faith be affected by that emotional roller coaster.  We let our confidence in Christ be affected by circumstances.  We have to remember that He is both Lord over the ups and the downs.  He is unchanging.

Charles Spurgeon (I know, I hardly ever quote him), once spoke about the surety of our salvation, and he addressed the issue of letting our confidence be marred by our feelings.  He said:

Now, a true Christian man cannot be without feeling. God forbid that he should! Feelings of sorrow, feelings of joy, feelings of spiritual depression, and feelings of holy elation, — these are all necessary in their time and place; but to live by feeling, and to gauge our security by our state of feeling, would be truly dreadful work, because our feelings are more fickle than the weather. It is fine just now; but in another half-hour, it may rain. In such a variable climate as ours, we can never reckon for long upon any sort of weather; and as to our hearts, and our feelings, so dependent upon our bodily health, or upon the kindness or the unkindness of our friends, — so dependent upon a thousand little things almost too minute to be observed, — if we begin estimating our safety by our ups and downs, we shall feel lost and then feel saved a hundred times a day. That plan will not do. “The just shall live by faith.” I like to believe in Jesus, when I have the worst feelings, just as firmly as when I have the best of them, and to trust in God just the same when my full assurance in him brims with delight as I did when my soul was emptied by sorrow. (Faith: Life, #2809)

Indeed, He is Christ of the ups and the downs.  Feelings come and go, but our Lord is still Lord.  In another message, Pastor Spurgeon reminded us of the difference between our fleeting feelings and our faithful Father.  He said: 

You pass through many changes, but you have a Saviour who is ever the same, “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, and today, and forever.” You have your ups and downs, you change with every phase of the moon; but with the great “Father of lights” there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning”… He never began a work of grace in anyone, and then left it unfinished. He never adopted a child into his family, and then cast him out to perish. The Lord Jesus Christ never first married any soul, and then divorced her, for he hateth putting away. He will never part with any member of his mystical body; if he could do such an outrageous thing, he would himself be incomplete. (The Gospel Cordial, #3236) 

Life is full of ups and downs.  Each day can see a swing between a dozen hilltops and valleys.  But God is still God. Our relationship with Him has been secured by the finished work of Christ and nothing can change that.  He is always faithful, and no matter what ups and downs life may throw at us, we can always have confidence that we are safe and secure in His hands.  And there is no place I'd rather be.

So, if you're having a good day, rejoice, knowing that each joy you have is a gift from the hand of a loving Father. And if your day isn't so great, just go watch a few funny internet videos, put a smile on your face, and rest assured that you are still loved with an everlasting love.  And He who loves you is unchanging, Lord of the ups and the downs.

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