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the power of the middle





If someone were to ask you what things you really care about, I wonder what you would say. I wonder if what you care about would line up with what I care about. Chances are if we put ten people together in a room, there would be ten different answers to this question. I suppose part of what makes us unique is that each of us has slightly different things we care about more than other things.

It seems to me that there is something really good and helpful about finding middle ground when it comes to things people care about. I may be wrong, but I would venture to say that there are a lot of issues in which being in the middle is where we find the highest level of wisdom.

Let's take grades for example. On the one extreme, someone could be highly concerned about grades... The grades I get in my classes matter so much that I will always strive for the highest possible grade I can get. I'll be checking my grades repeatedly because I need to stay constantly aware of how I am doing. On the other extreme, someone could have no concern whatsoever about grades... What do you mean you want to know what my grade is? Who cares? Why should I care about a random number some teacher gives me based on my work?

Hopefully most of us would agree that the wise approach to grades is somewhere in the middle. Yes, it's good to work to our fullest potential and grades are one way of measuring how we're doing. But no one wants to live with the pressure that could come with being continually obsessed over one's grades.

I could say the same about our health. One extreme would be to count every single calorie, exercise 5 times a day, and spend hours researching the healthiest diet imaginable. The other extreme would be to live on potato chips, fast food and whatever else looks tasty in any given moment. Again, don't most of us desire to find the balance between these two extremes?

Here's the kicker though: whether we want to admit it or not, all of us have things we care more deeply about than other people do. The moments this phenomenon can get especially interesting is when you care deeply about something that someone else... how shall I put this... doesn't. What do we do in these moments? How do we maintain the unity of the Spirit when we can't understand how another person doesn't seem to care about this thing we deeply care about?

I wish I had an easy answer. I wish there was one Bible verse we could all say to one another that would somehow magically put us all back on the same page. I do think of Paul's words in the beginning of Philippians 2 that have to do with like-mindedness. He wrote...


Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Something I find interesting about these verses is how he doesn't begin with like-mindedness. He doesn't say, if you care about the same things your brothers and sisters do, then make my joy complete by being united with Christ. It's exactly the reverse of that. He reminds the believers of the encouragement and comfort that come from knowing Jesus and His love. That is the only place we can start in order to arrive at a place of like-mindedness.

There's a song written by Charlie Hall and Matt Redman called "Center". The words of the chorus are simple yet powerful:


Oh Christ be the center of our lives Be the place we fix our eyes Be the center of our lives

As we navigate our varying levels of caring about different things - within our families, alongside of our friends, in our schools, churches, neighborhoods and communities - may this prayer rise above every other: that Jesus would be the center of our lives.


Artwork by: Michelle Glick (BCS Parent)

 

Pray with me...


... Jesus, be the center of our lives as individuals, as families, as the ACSD community, and as believers in the Church worldwide

And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. Colossians 1:18

... Lord, increase our tenderness and compassion toward another, that our love for each other would flow from Your love for us

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

... Father, shape our hearts to care about what You would have us care about, as individuals and as a whole community

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4


 

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at cwarner@alliancechristian.org.


~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator


Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory




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