“Making Good Use of Tension”
Look around. Tension is everywhere. Maybe you experience it at the breakfast table with the spouse you chose and who chose you but who now seems like your enemy at times. Maybe you experience it with the neighbor who sticks political candidate signs in their lawn two months before the election and, if the person wins, leaves those signs up for months afterward just to rub it in. Maybe you experience tension with your boss, who plays you like a puppet and, when you do something to make them look good, never bothers to say thanks.
Welcome to our tense, tense world.
But here’s what I want to point out: like the tension in a rubber band, tension in life can be used in two ways.
• Properly utilized tension is useful. For example, a rubber band can bind together a dozen pencils. It can help a little girl create a ponytail. It can seal an opened bag of potato chips to keep them fresh. It can power a model airplane into the sky.
• Improperly utilized tension is dangerous. Held between two fingers and stretched back, a rubber band can be snapped to intentionally hurt a sibling. (Not, of course, that I know this from personal experience!) Wrapped too tightly around a wrist or a finger, a rubber band can cut off circulation.
Don’t you want to use the tension in your life for good rather than harm? James 1:2–4 says we should be joyful in trials (tension). Why? Because trials help us develop perseverance and perseverance develops maturity.
Perseverance means we have grit, moxie, stamina, persistence, backbone. Like a diamond, we have to be tested, challenged, put under pressure to become perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
That’s the kind of person God desires to create through the tension of everyday life. But when we refuse to accept tension as a gift, when we consider it an affront to the perfect life we believe we deserve, then our “faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors” (v. 3 MSG).
Open one eye to the world, and you will find tension.
Open both eyes to the world, and you will be depressed.
Set your eyes on Jesus, and you will find hope.
What tensions are you involved in right now? What might it look like to face those tensions squarely, with faith in Jesus?