I like solutions.
I don’t mean saline solution or math problem solutions but ideas and actions that fix problems.
Got a flat tire? Here’s a spare.
Feeling hungry? There’s a McDonald’s down the road.
Elbow hurts when you touch it? Stop touching it.
These are all things that fix an imminent problem, but these are rarely the problems which cause me to lose sleep or worry up some new gray hairs.
Do you lack direction? Find some direction.
Uh oh, that’s not really a solution.
Are you depressed about the circumstances of your life? Stop being depressed.
Dang it. I liked my formula better when we were talking about cheeseburgers.
So what is the solution to these problems? I could say, “Jesus” and just stop there, but it’s not that easy.
Listen to the commercials on the radio and pay attention to the advertisements that pop up during the breaks of your favorite shows about housewives from various cities. Most of them promise a solution to the questions that plague every day people.
Are you overweight? Buy this stretchy metal contraption.
Need to meet the right person? Buy a membership and we’ll find you a soul mate.
Does your job suck? Here’s a school that will get you a job where everyone smiles and the customers never complain.
The difficulty is that very few of the promises deliver on their claims. If it were as easy as making a decision and not wavering, then life would be uneventful and circumstances would always be predictable.
Paul, the guy from the Bible, actually had a quite simple approach. At the end of 1 Corinthians 15, he told the most screwed up believers of the New Testament that, in light of who Christ is, and in light of who they are now because of Christ, that they should, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
The way to resolve the big issues of life is, in fact, found in Jesus. It’s not because we pray the magical prayer and throw a few extra bucks in offering on Sunday, but because as we resolve to stay near Christ the difficulties of life tend to fall into place. Even if we don’t get definite direction, still deal with depression, or never find that “you complete me” person, it’s much easier to weather life’s storms standing with Jesus rather than jumping from place to place in search of a quick fix.
Steadfast implies that it’s easier to fall away.
Immovable implies that forces pressed them to move.
Toiling implies that it’s not easy to abound in the work of the Lord.
Resolve is simply drawing nearer to Jesus.
Did anyone just say, “It’s not that easy!”?
I know that for a fact.
I think that most people resemble the Corinthians far more than they do Paul, but we’re busy trying to convince everyone else that we have decided to follow Jesus and now life is full of rainbows and puppy dogs. Resolve simply means that I keep drawing near instead of giving up. It means that I keep looking to Jesus instead of trading him in for new, shiny fix-all, which never stays shiny and never fixes anything long term.
If life didn’t present some difficult situations and some unanswerable questions then we would never need any solutions. I know that Law and Order finds a problem and solves it within an hour, but I’ve yet to see a detective find a brilliant clue which explains his or her own personal emotional detachment.
So what is the answer to the difficulties of life?
Jesus! That’s right!
And if we were in Sunday School I’d give you a gold star.
Seriously though, our solution is Jesus because He didn’t die in order that we could have less anxiety and a perfect smile. He died so that we could be with Him. So if I seek to be nearer to Him isn’t that kind of the whole point? It takes work, but it’s not in vain. If it was a one and done thing then I wouldn’t be concerned about the increasing numbers on my bathroom scale, or why the ladies aren’t beating down my front door.
But I resolve to get closer to Jesus and I’m better than I used to be.