What Are We Grasping For?

I remember as a child having a curiosity like no other. I was always curious about how things worked and why they worked the way they did. I always seemed to land in trouble for getting into things that I probably shouldn’t have been getting into. I remember once, when I was around 8, my family was eating dinner when I asked my dad, “what would happen if I put a paper clip into the electric outlet?” My dad responded, “do it and find out.” I did and learned two very important lessons: electricity can be painful, and maybe I shouldn’t do everything my dad says to do. As I grew, my curiosity for knowledge turned into a curiosity for what brought me pleasure. I began to search out ways to fulfill my need for comfort, peace and joy. But I soon realized that those things that brought happiness were momentary and, like the electricity, they often brought pain. Eventually I came to realize that I needed comfort, peace and joy that wasn’t fleeting. I became aware that the source wasn’t something, but someone — and that someone was Jesus Christ! My question for you today is, what are you grasping for instead of Christ?

We all have coping mechanisms or things that we run to instead of collapsing on Christ. The question is, what do we turn to when things are hard and we feel like we can’t carry the burden anymore? Do we turn to Facebook, pornography, or to our favorite Netflix show to distract us from the real issues in the heart? All of these outlets only give us a momentary fix — a fleeting sense of joy and peace. We must remember that true joy and peace are found only in God Himself. What if, instead of going to Taco Bell to eat our feelings, (speaking from experience on this one) we allow the Holy Spirit to give us His comfort and peace through His love. In the book of Philippians, Paul addresses this very thing:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) When we pray and ask God to take anxiety, fear, worry, and everything else that we endure on a daily basis, He is faithful to replace those things with peace as He refocuses our hearts and minds on Him.

So, why do we continue to hold onto the false sources of comfort that got us through before knowing Christ? Paul says in Romans 7:14-20, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Paul is reminding us that our hearts are wicked and, as John Calvin said, “factories of idols.” We continue to grasp for the idols that we know will not give us life, but instead will take us further away from the life we have in Jesus.
So, as these situations arise in our lives, we are called to trust that Christ is better, and that He will give us what we need. In Colossians 3 we are told to “set our minds on things that are above and not on earthly things.” When we do this, we are able to say no to the old man and say yes to Jesus! Christ died to enable us to come to Him in repentance as we turn from our sin and toward Him. My prayer is that, when you find yourself at the end of your rope, you will allow God to take control of whatever situation you find yourself in. Trust that He has you and will take care of you in this time of need.

Because of Christ,

Matt Langenhorst