In a year filled with so much upheaval and turmoil, how does one find the strength and conviction to press on? The Atlanta Voice President and General Manager James A. Washington takes a look back on his column “Spiritually Speaking,” and offers up some thoughts to consider heading into the new year.

When the world goes absolutely crazy, what do you do? When your life is in absolute chaos, how do you handle it? When nothing makes any sense, where do you find clarity amidst confusion?  When there is madness all around you, where do you seek sanity? 

It has become apparent to me that the only thing that has to happen to bring chaos and confusion into your life is to allow some distance between you and God. 

A factoid regarding this is simply seek something other than the kingdom first. You want to deal with crazy. Just say hello world. We’re looking at it right now.

As a minister friend once told me, being a Christian is a full-time job. You don’t get the summer off. There is no Spring Break.  Do not misunderstand me. No! You don’t get nights and weekends off. You can never get too comfortable with how well you think you’re doing God’s will.

The reason I bring any of this up is, the devil is ever vigilant. When you’re dog tired, he’s got a bed for you to sleep in. When you’re thirsty, he has the perfect thing to quench it. When you lose focus, guess who has the right game to fill your imagination and temporary desires? 

If you’re not careful, you will wake up one day thinking you’re close to God, only to find yourself ‘hangin’ with Satan as your sidekick.

‘Social distancing cannot replace spiritual clarity’

Back when we could assemble in church, I was blessed to hear the pastor try to address the fears many of us might have gone through these tough times with the economy and the uncertainty which permeates the world today. 

He talked about famine, fire, terrorists, recession, the mortgage crisis, and the like; all of those worldly issues that might keep you up at night. 

Let me add COVID-19 to further emphasize my point. 

The angst of today’s problems should be replaced with the peace of mind that when the world is out of control, God isn’t. Now, where do you choose to put your energy, circle your wagons, demonstrate your faith? In the world? Or, in God?  

Social distancing cannot ever be a substitute for spiritual togetherness. That question where you put your focus in times of trouble is only of importance if you are unsure of the answer. Worry comes with the world. And, the world, by design is chaotic. 

Peace of mind comes with the Lord because the Lord is anything but. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ is in you unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6) 

The fact is, you get to choose, again and again

I believe a key understanding of having a relationship, a personal relationship with Christ has a lot to do with making conscious choices. 

As such, I think I’m actually gaining more awareness of what it means as one begins or continues to travel a path towards the Almighty. 

In attempting to do, it becomes more and more obvious that choosing which path to take when you come to the fork in the road is more a matter of choice than it is a matter of circumstance or accident or fate.

Once you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, what’s in your heart takes (or should take) priority over what’s in your mind or certainly what comes out of your mouth. 

I believe this is where faith is challenged and professed ignorance falls by the wayside, even as we desperately want to claim ignorance as if it is a defense (or excuse) for unholy actions or hypocritical conduct. The proof is in one’s heart. 

No matter the situation or circumstance, when you acknowledge God and your relationship to Him, you cannot use the excuse that you don’t know, you didn’t have control or your sin was an accident. 

 

(Photo: James A. Washington)

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