I am always pleasantly surprised at how refreshing the book, “Laugh Again” by Charles Swindoll is. Published in 1992 (25 years ago) it has been on my most enjoyed and most encouraging book lists. This fall has provided a wonderful opportunity to read and study this book again.
Our Adult Sunday School Class was going over chapter 9 where Chuck (may I call him Chuck?) writes about Philippians 3:12-16, “As I read over Paul’s comments, which sort of summarize his philosophy of life, five ideas emerge.” Join me in following his train of thought.
1. The plan is progress, not perfection. ‘Not that I have obtained it.’ We aim toward Christ-likeness, knowing we will never achieve the perfection of our Lord. Whew! What a relief! We can strive to be better, we can make progress in becoming more Christlike, even while understanding that perfection has been achieved, and we ain’t it.
2. The past is over...forget it! ‘Forgetting what lies behind.’ Dwelling in the past is not healthy on a long-term basis. Sure, a move, unhappiness with your current situation, grief over a loss will shove us into thinking about, even wishing for the good ole’ days. But let me tell you something. When we constantly talk about and idealize the past, we miss out on making the best of the present...what will become the good ole’ days in our future. Don’t miss out on the new ole’ days.
3. The future holds out hope...reach for it! ‘Reaching forward to what lies ahead.’ Paul is talking about a race, probably a chariot race. You want that prize, you lean out in front of that chariot, urging the horses forward. And so it must be for us in life, we need to have something worth hanging out of the chariot for. A dream, our family, a new this or that, something that makes our eyes light up and our pulse quicken. If you don’t have it...start looking for it...with hope.
4. The secret is a determined attitude… maintain it. ‘Have this attitude.’ This is talking about us. Each of us needs to have a determined attitude. Sometimes that means doing what we know we should do even when we don’t feel like it, with the hope we will someday soon really feel like it. Who’s attitude are we in charge of? Only our own.
5. The need is keeping a high standard...together. ‘let us keep living by that standard.’ This is talking about us together, in our church family, and I can say it no better than through Chucks’ words. “...encouraging each other to hang in there day after day is one of the many benefits of locking arms in close friendship with a small group of Christians.” And that is what we are trying to do, right here at DLABC, the small church with a big heart.
It’s a great five steps, inspired by God, written down by Paul, interpreted by Chuck, and brought to you by Karen. Think about these things…
Blessings from your pastor,