Thursday, October 6 2022 - 3:45 PM

Sharing Scripture — August 27, 2022

A Life of Praise

 

For use: August 21 – 27, 2022
Texts: Philippians 4:4-7; Joshua 5:13-6:20; Psalm 145; Acts 16:16-34; 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

 

It can sound like a cliché to say we should express gratitude in the face of adversity, but for Logan Aldridge, a Peloton instructor and adaptive training director, it’s become a way of life.

A wakeboarding accident at the age of 13 mangled his left arm. He recounts discussing his future with his mother after they began to realize the extent of his injuries.

“‘What if I lose my arm?’ Without skipping a beat, she just looked at me and said, ‘Logan, it’s just an arm.’ In that moment, that was so profoundly impactful for me to hear. And it immediately switched my brain to being grateful, recognizing that there’s some abundance in this moment.”

Logan now uses that incident and the subsequent amputation of his arm as motivation, not only for himself, but for his students as well. “The statement, ‘It’s just an arm,’ triggers me to recognize, first of all, be grateful, and that everything is about perspective and attitude. The way in which we see things, the way in which we see experiences and whether it’s, ‘Woe is me,’ or whether it’s, ‘I’m so grateful for this,’ is perspective.”

Perspective is key to facing any adversity with a healthy attitude. When the challenges of life threaten to drag us into a pit of despair, taking a moment to stop and reflect on the big picture can help us regain that proper perspective.

The apostle Paul knew how to keep things in perspective. He reported in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 that he was “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” He showed more of that big picture thinking in chapter 6:9-10. Here he revealed that he and other believers were “dying, yet [living] on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing … having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” That perspective is a way of saying, “Okay, things are bad; but they could always be worse!”

That’s not to deny the reality of the situation. To be sorrowful at times is a reality of the human condition. To rejoice always in the midst of sorrow takes a divine perspective—it’s not a natural human response to dejection. Being in the crucible with Christ identifies two definite realities for Christians: we often experience life’s trials, but we do so with Christ. That’s plenty of reason to rejoice in our sufferings.

 

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: How do you keep a proper perspective in the face of adversity? Do you have a specific strategy to keep looking at the big picture when you face discouraging day-to-day challenges?

Sharing: Many of the Bible characters we look to for inspiration during trials were wrongfully imprisoned: Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison, Daniel in the lion’s den, John the baptizer in Herod’s prison, and Paul in a Roman dungeon. If you were imprisoned, what would best help you endure the trial? 

  1. Memorized scriptures would give me courage
  2. Singing praise songs would cheer me up
  3. Visits! Many visits from family and friends
  4. I’m not sure anything would help me endure a wrongful imprisonment; that’s more than I could bear
  5. I’m a very determined person—I believe I could tough it out on my own
  6. Other:

Applying: Who do you know that lives a life of praise? Plan to have a conversation with that person to learn where their attitude comes from. Have they developed it through living a life of adversity?

Valuing: Picture yourself in Paul’s situation as described in the 2 Corinthians passages—poor, beaten, and eventually imprisoned. What would it take for you to praise God during those trials? Practice giving thanks in all circumstances now, so that it will become more natural when the big challenges come.

 

~ Chuck Burkeen
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