Our Christian colors

By Dave Henning / September 6, 2016
Mr. Henning astride his 1917 vintage Choo-Choo Car

Mr. Henning astride his 1917 vintage Choo-Choo Car

“We must show our Christian colors if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.”- C. S. Lewis

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”- Psalm 25:5

Throughout my 22-year Lutheran elementary teaching ministry, whole family ministry constituted one of my core philosophies.  While teaching third grade at Northwest Lutheran School, I had a student named Abby.  Maddy, Abby’s sister, attended K-4 at Northwest.  Three-year-old Robby tagged along with mom on her chauffeuring duties.

One day Robby arrived at school with a monkey his parents purchased at Build-A-Bear.  Struggling to keep a straight face, mom shared the following story.  When the time came name his monkey, mom suggested an obvious choice from kiddie lit- Curious George.  Robby, however, immediately interjected with his own selection- “No!  Mr. Henning!”

John Ortberg, via conversation with Dallas Willard, describes the soul as the deepest, or core, part of you.  Furthermore, both the Old and New Testaments consider the word soul synonymous with the whole person.  However, when your soul suffers from “sinkhole syndrome” caused by your vocation loss, your soul quickly becomes un-centered.

In addition, Pastor Ortberg describes five indicators of an un-centered soul.  A soul without a center:

  • finds making a decision difficult; indecisive with regard to resisting temptation or making sacrifices
  • feels constantly vulnerable to people or circumstances; resultant exhaustion requires “re-souling”
  • lacks patience; always in a hurry to be someplace else
  • is easily thrown, no matter how hard you try to hang on
  • locates its identity and sense of control in externals; losing those externals equates with loss of identity

Although external circumstances may cause disappointment, John emphasizes, Scriptural truths keep your soul centered in the very heart of God.  If anything, those external circumstances draw you closer to Jesus.

In Waiting on God, Wayne Stiles points out that the tough parts of the Christian life list as required courses, not electives.  Consequently, we encounter difficulty when we interpret our Christianity as we want it, not as God reveals it.  As a result, God allows us to reconcile reality with His truth so we can be like Christ.

Especially relevant, our sovereign God never asks whether or not we’d prefer to experience our vocation loss.  He does, however, promise to be with us as we discover the path He lights step by step, displaying our Christian colors.  In conclusion, Dr. Stiles encourages:

“God is with us.  Often that truth is all we know.  He is with us, not to answer our questions but to comfort us as he takes us to a place that teaches us to trust him by forcing us to do so. . . . At the outset, we never would have chosen those strange gaps of God’s sovereignty in our lives.  But in the end, we never would have missed them.”

About the author

Dave Henning


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