“How do I reprogram my computer?” the man asked. “I want to clear it out and start from the beginning.”
“No problem,” the technician answered. “You can do it in three easy steps. Just restart the computer, hold down the 0 on the keyboard, and then follow the prompts.”
As I thought about the technician’s instructions, I realized that we often try to clear out our own computers, so to speak. We may look for a fresh start, which we think will add meaning and purpose to an otherwise bleak existence, but many times it only leads to a dead end. So if you’re filled with frustration today, let me try to explain the challenge which Christmas offers in the following paragraphs.
You may be saying, “I have tried to change, but nothing seems to work. How do I proceed from here?”
I’m glad you asked, because that poses an interesting question. If our minds are like that man’s computer, is it true that we’ll get the same info out of our minds that we put in?
That sounds great on paper, and I’m not disputing it in the short term. But the problem comes because unlike a computer in a clinical setting, which is being fed only one kind of information, we are constantly being fed foreign data. If you dispute this, just think about all the mental junk that you have to filter out in a day.
The real issue comes, therefore, when I try to erase this foreign data from my memory bank on my own. But the great news is that we don’t have to do this, and that is what Christmas is all about.
In order to make lasting changes, we need to follow Christ by leaning on Him and studying His Word, instead of following the world’s prompts. Since a lack of dependence upon Him allows the wrong data to be entered into our minds and hearts, spiritually speaking, our feet are walking on an uneven path if we choose to walk alone.
Let me explain by telling you about a book that I am almost done reading. It tells the story of a blind man who climbed Mount Everest–not your everyday subject. So before going on, I want to stop and applaud this man for his courage and perseverance.
In this volume, he showed the world that to a large extent, many physical obstacles can be overcome through hard work. While I won’t spoil the story, I will say that one thing that impressed me the most was when Erik talked about the thin poles he used as he climbed. These were essential because they supported him on the uneven mountain paths, and they helped him gain a foothold so he wouldn’t fall during his climb.
I’m probably giving a less-than-adequate description of them, but since the mountains which he faced are a lot like the mountains of life, we can draw a parallel here. Instead of leaning upon a loving God for support, we often lean on the wrong things, and we may look for fulfillment in things like alcohol and drugs to get us through another day.
While these are just two examples of striving for meaning apart from God, the point is that if you are trying unsuccessfully to live life under your own power, you may be filled with a sense of hopelessness, emptiness, and defeat. The answer is found by putting the data found in Isaiah 41:10 into our minds and hearts, and ultimately making this verse part of our lives.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (NIV)
When we feel like we are falling, and we allow God to pick us up, then the ability to meet the challenge of Christmas is truly discovered by each of us. Jesus Christ came to Earth as a baby, experiencing poverty so that He could walk with you through life’s pain. He experienced separation from God on the cross, and that separation from our Father doesn’t have to be a reality for you, if you will call on Him today. Lastly, Jesus rose from the dead to prove to man that He is the king whom the angels sang about on Christmas morning.
Therefore, sitting at the Father’s right hand, Jesus Christ challenges all of us to live in the hope which Christmas brings. Instead of leaning on your own strength for support, I encourage you to put all of your hope and trust in our savior today.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.