“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. . . . You do not have, because you do not ask God.”-James 4:1-2
In Chapter 7 of One Way Love, Tullian Tchividjian notes that when the foundation of any relationship is constant criticism, that relationship is unhappy. Relational expectation, he adds, always creates relational detachment.
Ironically, Pastor Tchividjian observes, such “hypercritical and legalistic environments” are dominated by cheap or small-l law. They run on the inflated presupposition that, through hard work and determination, we can meet whatever arbitrary standards have been set. In other words, it’s a graceless existence. And when we fail to meet the standards we have set, we look to others to be our functional saviors.
The end result is that we create escalating expectations of each other. We have the expectation that others, such as those responsible for our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, are required to keep the law- present company exempted. Pastor Tchividjian states that when we depend on others to provide what we can’t provide for ourselves, we become angry and graceless. We are comfortable in our judgment seat.
People never can give us what we want. Yet we continue to believe that they should. Only Jesus can meet our every need.
Today’s question: Following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss, has your primary focus been on others to be your functional savior or on Jesus to transition you to a renewed calling? Please share.
Coming Monday: the new Short Meditation, “Our (second) best friend”