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Tuesday Thoughts 11-7-17

Awesome news!  A lost and previously unclassified “generation” has been identified.  They are called Xennials. That’s right, we now have the GI generation, Silent generation, Baby-Boomers, Generation X, Xennials, Millennials, and Generation Z (if you’re looking for the age breakdowns and characteristics, you’ll have to look elsewhere).  From the celebrations popping up on social media last week, it is clear to see that the angst resulting from years of wandering around in anonymity and futility has come to an end, and productivity and peace can finally come to rest.  All sarcasm aside (well, probably not all), it is curious to me that in our present culture of vigorous anti-labeling, such group identification is hailed as such a positive thing.  Descriptors like tall, short, thin, fat, smart (and its’ opposite), as well as a whole bunch more are on the naughty list.  How dare we label anyone?!?  How could we even THINK of putting those “limitations” on each other?!?   Yet take just a bit more than a casual observation of human interaction and relationships, and you can’t help but notice that we long to be identified as belonging to some kind of group.  There are all kinds of reasons why this is so.  For some, it is a search for a reason not to mature; If I can justify my irresponsible behavior with a generational mindset, then I don’t have to do anything about it except cast blame.  For others, it is a safety-in-numbers gig; I won’t stick out and be targeted if I’m surrounded by the like-me’s.  Still others find their self-worth in making these kinds of group identifications.  All this striving springs out of a desire to answer the question, “Who am I?”, and leads to the formulation of our personal thought/action patterns.  Can I relieve some stress for you?  You don’t really need to figure out who you are!  And even if we could figure that out at this very moment, the next moment we would have to figure it out again because we’re broken, damaged, incomplete, and always changing.  No, the only thing we need to do, is figure out who Jesus is!  He is the never-changing, always loving, perfect Creator, Savior and sustainer of life who has made himself known!  When I give up the management of my own life to Jesus, I find a liberating identification, expressed here in the New Testament book of Colossians: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:1–3 (NIV84).  Hidden in Him!  That means there is no need to conform to, or be differentiated from others!  When the truth of our identity in Christ (which is God’s perfect design) is embraced, there is freedom! But let’s look at the other side as too.  If we identify with Jesus, the way we treat others will be transformed into His way as well.   As He loves intently, so we will be becoming lovers of others.  His patience…our patience, His good-news sharing…our good-news sharing.  His meeting people where they are…ours.  This very act of becoming one with Jesus–all heading in the same transformational direction–brings healing to this distorted world.  It is this Christ-likeness that will bring comfort, recovery, and purpose (instead of fear, anger, and hopelessness) to the folks of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, empower a family to love someone out of addiction, and address the struggle you are facing today.  I hope this is inspiring.  Inspiration is required, but action is also called for.  How’s that transformation going?  Are you gaining an I.D. in Jesus that is weaning you from either trying to gain the approval of others or distance yourself from them?  Are you giving up your evaluation of people and circumstances and looking at those things, instead, through the eyes of the Savior?  Do that continual inventory and surrender.  It is only the Jesus Generation that makes a real difference!

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