Wednesday, May 25, 2011

High Anxiety

Dear friends, don't be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing
that is like walking through fire.

-- 1 Peter 4:12

Its brilliance lay in its frankness and simplicity.

It was the Peter Principle, the hypothesis introduced by Dr. Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull in 1969 that states that in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence. Dr. Peter also observed that work in an organization is actually accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

If you’ve ever been a cubical dweller in corporate America or a even fan of the comic strip Dilbert, you know that Dr. Peter was probably on to something. But there are plenty of cases where folks worked their way through the ranks and earned their way to the top. But once they made it, it wasn’t anything that they expected. As soon as they reached the summit, the co-workers who they left behind began to raise their voices and criticize. Unexpected challenges arose, problems materialized out of nowhere and the limelight of prestige began to burn. That once sought-after corner office became a place of tension and anxiety. And one totally void of peace. 

If opposition and distraction are what people face once they reach the "top" (as the world defines it), what's it like for Christ-followers striving for life's real measure of success: faithfulness to God? For the Lord’s perspective on the matter, let’s consider what we should call the 1 Peter Principle.  

The Bible tells us that those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior can also expect their fair share of opposition in this life. In fact, they can count on it. The key to enduring the onslaught while experiencing inner peace is learning how to recognize the opposition and turning it to an advantage.

It's important to understand that the opposition we face will always bring added challenges. But the life-long habits developed as Christ-followers--such as consistent prayer and Bible study--will prove themselves worthwhile many times over. It's like a long-distance runner whose car has broken down in the middle of nowhere. All those hours of training in the hot sun will surely pay off with interest as he or she jogs nearly effortlessly to the nearest gas station that’s five miles away.

The challenges that Christ-followers face are also sure to bring testing. Maybe it's a layoff at work, an illness in the family or an unanticipated, budget-busting expense. Whatever it is, we can respond by either giving up or by depending on our faith in God to see us through and give us peace. Real faith will stand strong to the end. But what's false is bound to fail. As the Bible puts it, "blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."

Is your faith-journey’s ladder to the top shaky or rock-solid? And are you finding that the view's not what you had expected? If so, maybe it’s time to talk to The Boss:  

“I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give,” Jesus reminds His followers. “It isn't like the peace that this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid.”

1 comment:

Leslie Rubio said...

Thanks for that message Doug...will share the bible verse on FB as I know that I needed to hear it!