by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
This month has been a busy season. Come to think of it, last month was a busy season, and next month will be a busy season. Recently, I have been considering what to subtract from my life so that everything can fit. A couple of weeks ago I referenced a parable taught by Jesus recorded in both Matthew 12 and Luke 11. It highlights the importance of not only removing “unclean spirits” from your life, but quickly replacing those unhealthy habits with healthy pursuits.
As the school focuses on the character trait of orderliness this month, I think that sometimes we may apply this principle in the incorrect order. I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s exhortation that “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). An attempt to apply this lifestyle before “cleaning house” often only leads to frustration and lukewarm results.
Consider the inverse of this principle, “whatever is untrue, whatever is dishonorable, whatever is unjust, whatever is impure, whatever is unlovely, whatever is wrong, if there is any shoddiness, if there is anything worthy of shame, do not think about these things.” In order to have the mind of Christ, we have to first make room by removing everything that is not of Christ. This is not about legalism, it is about the heart.
For example, I love my wife. In order to spend time with her, I must first make decisions to my schedule that provides devoted time with her. I want to pursue her above all things. In order to do that, I must be careful to remove or decrease pursuits that distract me from that goal. I order my life this way not because of some legalistic adherence to a marriage book, but out of a heart-felt desire to love my wife. Either my wife is number one in my life or she isn’t. I can’t have more than one number one. Jesus consistently taught that “no one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6 and Luke 16). Before God can become our only master, other untrue and impure habits that may be mastering our lives must be removed. Then there exists an open space in our hearts for God to assume his rightful place as a result of a heartfelt invitation. Giving attention to the “don’ts” is simply a means to the ultimate end goal of “doing” a life completely partnered with God.
Lt. General William K. Harrison received every decoration for valor except the Congressional Medal of Honor – being honored with the Distinguished Silver Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. General Harrison was a soldier’s soldier who led a busy, ultra-kinetic life, but he was also an amazing man of the Word. When he was a twenty-year-old West Point Cadet, he began reading the Old Testament through once a year and the New Testament four times. General Harrison did this until the end of his life. If the seasons of your life seem too busy to add in time with God, consider there are others with busier lives who have made it work through the beauty of “addition by subtraction".
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent