The End of the Rope

By Linda Tancs

A common utterance is “I’m at the end of my rope.” Spoken out of emotions like desperation, depression or exasperation, it’s easy to think that you’re handling all that you can, that you can bear no more. If the phrase were true, then maybe you’d have a point. But it’s a false statement. You are not at the end of your rope—God is (Isaiah 41:10). And He’s pulling the rope in His direction. Let Him lead; don’t play “tug of war.”

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

 

Ask, Seek and Knock

By Linda Tancs

Matthew 7:7-12 is often construed to mean that we can have what we want if we’ll just ask, seek and knock. Of course, God delights in giving gifts to His children, like any parent (James 1:17). But we miss an important opportunity to see this passage as an invitation to trust that we are being guided and cared for unless we insert Him into it.

Read it this way: “Everyone who asks for Him, receives Him; and the one who seeks, finds Him; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened to Him.” It’s not about what, it’s about who.

The Last One Standing

By Linda Tancs

Do you know what it’s like to be “the last one standing?” Sometimes, it might connote something victorious, like winning on the Survivor reality show. Or, if you’re like me, it means being picked last in gym class, which was tantamount to not being chosen at all.

Rejection hurts. Joseph (Barsabbas) knew the feeling. He was a contender for the role of replacement apostle after Judas’s betrayal, but Matthias got selected instead (Acts 1:23-26). And, of course, no one knew rejection better than Jesus. But the fact remains that you’ll never be chosen last by God (Psalm 94:14). People may offer rejection, but God always offers acceptance. His opinion matters more; let His offer of acceptance create an atmosphere for you to thrive in the way that He’s called you.

The Highest Good

By Linda Tancs

The Latin phrase summum bonum means “the highest good.” So what is the highest good? Literally, it is God; it doesn’t get any higher than that (Luke 18:19). You’ve heard it said hundreds of times, “God is good.” Throughout the Bible we’re reminded that God represents every good thing: love (1 John 4:8), light (1 John 1:5), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), compassion (Exodus 33:19), generosity (Psalm 84:11) and so on.

It is impossible to be as good as God (Isaiah 55:8-9), but we should aim to be as good as possible. In the philosophical context, our highest good is a virtuous life. Paul defined those virtues as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s your highest good and your highest calling. Jesus left you an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21), so follow Him.

The Time is Now

By Linda Tancs

“I’ll do it when” arises frequently as a response to situations in life. I’ll go back to school when all my bills are paid. I’ll take a nice vacation once I retire. I’ll get married once my career is established. In some instances, prudence may dictate that you wait before a certain action is taken. But maybe it’s possible that the time is now. Circumstances will rarely ever be perfect for action. Imagine how impaired our salvation would be if Jesus had waited for more “perfect” behavior before sacrificing His life for us. As Romans 5:8 reminds us, while we were yet sinners, He died for us. It’s a good thing He didn’t wait.

The Measure of God’s Love

By Linda Tancs

Airlines typically regulate the size of baggage by height, width and length. Imagine if you could use the same principle to measure God’s love. You can’t, of course. In fact, Paul encouraged the Ephesians to ponder just how high, deep, long and wide Christ’s love is for us (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Let’s try to imagine it. High: to the galaxies and back. Deep: to the depths of the ocean. Long: forever. Wide: to every corner of the Earth and beyond.

The Best-Kept Secret

By Linda Tancs

It isn’t unusual to see a travel destination touted as the “best-kept secret.” Typically, that’s because it’s beautiful, quiet, unspoiled, or all of these things.

You have those same things in your heart when you dwell in God’s secret place (Psalm 91:1-2), a place of protection and provision for those who place their trust in Him. Trust is the key that unlocks the secret place (Jeremiah 17:7-8), and you don’t have to spend a dime to get there.

 

True Victory

By Linda Tancs

People claim victory in many ways. In the sports industry, it’s winning the game. In business, it’s that promotion, maybe even acceleration to the C-suite. Some even claim victory when they dispose of memorabilia from a bad marriage. Clearly, “victory” means different things to different people. But there’s only one true victory for the believer, the one earned through grace by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5). Thanks to the work done for us at the cross, we are winners in the game of everlasting life.

Unattached

By Linda Tancs

The Bible urges us to be unattached to outcomes—or incomes, for that matter (1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 13:5-6). That means we are encouraged to purge attachments we have to who we are, attachments to our belongings, attachments to our jobs, labels, titles, and roles, attachments to our judgments and attachments to old memories that keep us stuck.

What attachments can you release? Maybe you can remove your attachment to distractions like mindless TV, popular culture or sensational headlines. The result of all this attachment is sin (Galatians 5:19-21) so it’s easy to understand why it needs to go. Easy to say, not so easy to do, you say. Indeed, the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17-22 illustrates how hard it is to let go. When he asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow Him. The man went away sad because he had many possessions. So long as there’s attachment, there’s another idol in your heart (Exodus 34:14).

 The rewards of detachment are many, giving way to the fruits of the Spirit, like love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Moreover, Jesus promised a reward both now and in eternity for giving up worldly things for His sake (Mark 10:28-31). It’s about giving up pain for gain. Who wouldn’t want that trade?

A Brain, a Heart and Courage

By Linda Tancs

In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy meets up with three characters, each seeking a different attribute. The scarecrow wants a brain. The tin man wants a heart. And the lion wants courage. That’s a pretty good summation of what we need to persevere through life: wisdom, love and courage.

The Bible exhorts us to gain wisdom (see, e.g., James 1:5; Proverbs 3:13-18). How do you do that? By reading the Bible, the source of all God’s knowledge and understanding. Wisdom is a gift from God, the means to discern the truth in all things. We’re told to love wisdom, and wisdom will protect us (Proverbs 4:6-7). Above all, though, we are commanded to love God (Deuteronomy 10:12) and extend that love to our neighbors (Luke 10:27). It’s fair to say that the pursuit of wisdom and love takes courage. It’s so much easier to hide one’s head in the sand, avoiding truth and neglecting the work to build strong relationships. Yet we’re reminded to be strong and of good courage (Deuteronomy 31:6). That’s because fear, insecurity and anxiety undermine the courage we need to foster effective personal and professional relationships. But you’re an overcomer! Stand firm and apply the power formula of wisdom, love and courage to persevere through life’s tasks and struggles.