Friends

Did you know that a golf ball has a sweet spot? The next time you tee one up, position it so that you’re hitting the label… hopefully with the sweet spot of your driver.

Did you know that a Christian life has a sweet spot too?

I have made many discoveries over the years, and many of them have been impactful. But this is one of the most important, powerful, and life-changing principles I have ever made in 40-plus years of being a Christian. This is going to sound a little over-the-top, but if you master this one principle, the transformation in your own life, to say nothing of your influence and circumstances, can be breathtaking.

On a broader scale, if the people you worship and fellowship with could really get this as a church, there is no limit to the influence you display.

Getting this – I mean really getting it – can explain why you tend to sabotage yourself after you’ve made progress toward a goal.

It may explain why your relationships go in frustrating cycles – hot today, cold tomorrow… intimate today, lonely later.

It may explain why you may have a lot of money or no money and not be affected one way or another in terms of your happiness or joy.

Discovering and practicing this one simple (didn’t say “easy”) idea can give you a shortcut to solving problems, healing relationships, and moving forward in every single area of your life.

Interested?

At least curious?

Okay, check back tomorrow.

Just kidding.

What I’m about to describe appears throughout scripture, but I recently saw how it all converged in one place.  Imagine there is something of a sweet spot – a “golden triangle” of life and relationships, and if you are operating inside this, you are positioning yourself to walk in the abundant life Jesus promised to give us.  Each of these three elements show up in a repeating pattern in these three verses:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father (Colossians 3:15-17).

Each of these verses contains the elements of this Golden Triangle (I know it’s a cheesy name, but it’s the best I’ve got for now):

  • Communion with Christ
  • Community of Believers
  • Commitment to Gratitude

Communion with Christ

Wanna see something really crazy?  Paul, writing from a prison, encourages a group of believers to take this living, powerful relationship with Jesus Christ and actually do something with it!

I know, right?

He mentions three different things here that all contain the phrase “of Christ.” But do a little digging, and you’ll find that phrase throughout the New Testament. And every mention of that phrase points to something pretty astonishing – Everything Christ is in this world, He is in you.

Just think about the three things he mentions here – the Peace of Christ, the Word of Christ, and the Name of Christ. He doesn’t tell the Colossians to try to produce the peace of Christ, listen out for the Word of Christ, or ask for the Name of Christ.  He assumes they already have that.

So, he says to let the Peace of Christ serve as something of an umpire that guides your decisions and relationships.  Let the Word of Christ give you wisdom and warning – wings and roots.  And let the Name of Christ serve as your key identity, so that everywhere you go, you take His authority, represent His character, and act as His representative. It literally means “act as if” it was Jesus doing whatever it is you do.

The common thread in all of that is Jesus.  What would happen if you prayed as if Jesus Himself were doing the praying?  What if you worked as if Jesus were working? What would happen the next time you were tempted to fly off the handle if instead you surrendered to the “call” of the “umpire”?

Community With Believers

This is harder to see because in the world of American English, Yankees make the grammar rules. (It was one of the terms General Lee had to sign off on. That pesky Grant was a tough negotiator.)

Anyway, as an American, living in an individualistic culture, I tend to read those verses as if they were written to me, solo. But that is not how the passage (or precious little of any of the New Testament) was written. Every time you see the words “you” or “your,” the proper translation is y’all and y’all’s. Go ahead. Try to read it out loud using proper words. It’s liberating, friend.

This points to a second major truth that can help lead you to the sweet spot – Everything God gives you or does in you He does in community.

You don’t want to believe that.

You want to think you’re the exception to that.

You aren’t. Get over it.

Everything Paul mentions here is in the context of the body of Christ. As I mentioned, many Western cultures don’t tend to read our Bibles that way because we’re so individualistic.  But this was written to a church, with the expectation that a church would be fleshing this out. So Paul talks about living together in unity, as one body. He speaks of worshipping and encouraging one another. And he is adamant about demonstrating the character of Christ to each other.

Imagine a life where every single time you wanted to grow in your walk with Christ all you had to do was look around and see how somebody else was doing it. What if, just before you gave in to discouragement a fellow believer showed up with just the right words? How would you live or worship differently if you knew that every tangible need you have, and many intangible ones too, were already available to you through some member of the Body of Christ?

Now… before I go to the last one, I just want to point out that immature believers have a tendency to pick one or the other of these – either communion with Christ or community – as if we had a choice. That may explain why they remain so immature and defeated.

Commitment to Gratitude

This is what first got my attention about this passage. In all three verses, Paul says something about gratitude.

Giving thanks is the companion to peace, first in our hearts, then as expressed as unity in the Body (v. 15).

Gratitude is the spirit with which we sing to God as an expression of worship; as a result the word of Christ dwells richly in us.

Giving thanks is the simultaneous expression that accompanies doing everything, in word and in deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus.

I sorta think this must be important.

It is.  In fact, Gratitude is THE evidence that you are walking in communion and community.

If we ever truly got what scripture taught about the power of gratitude, it could revolutionize our lives.

Simple Yes, Easy No

Can you see the sweet spot?

Can you see how having the right relationships and the right attitude of gratitude can position you to receive all that God wants to offer you, respond to different life challenges and opportunities, and renew your spiritual strength and vitality?

Simple?  I think so.

Easy? No. It’s a lifetime pursuit. But I think it’s worth the chase.

So how close are you to the sweet spot?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando June 8, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I love your Golden Triangle, Andy! It is easy to understand, maybe not always easy to do, but it is so necessary. And I’m a firm believer in that gratitude attitude you describe here – it can make all the difference in how we practice the first two concepts.
I’ll join you with the y’all and all y’all, too! 🙂
Blessings!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..Servant of All

Morgan June 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

Love this post and where you went with this! Your perspective is fresh and enlightening! Very nicely said. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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