Sunday, May 24, 2020

Fry Count vs. A Life That Counts

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

You know your marriage is strong when one of you gets home with the drive-thru order and the fries are missing but you still stay together. I’m not saying no one checks for fry-breath or anything, but still.

Sometimes you have to look at what counts. Because there are a couple of burgers left in there, right? No wait. What I mean to say is…healthy marriage. Important. That.
I’m working to improve my life focus, keeping a handle on what’s important and ignoring a few more of the incongruities and inconsistencies of life. Isn’t it an ironic inconsistency, for instance, that hotdog buns come in packages of ten but I’m eating chocolate chips out of the bag instead?

And while we’re talking incongruities and hotdogs, please forgive me for this, but isn’t hotdog to meat as fifth grade band concert is to music?

Looking at what counts when it comes to soul nourishment is a much bigger deal. We can’t consistently consume spiritual greasy meat by-products, as it were, and expect to have a healthy faith life.

We are to draw our nourishment from Christ Himself. Not from every new fad or passing trend. Just Jesus. Paul challenges us in Colossians 2:6, “So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught,” (CSB). I love the paraphrase that says, “Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught,” (TLB).

Fries and hotdogs may come and go, but drawing nourishment—real truth and real nourishment—from Christ takes us to a deeper life. It’s a place of growth, strength, vigor!

Our fleshly tendencies are to focus on the things that don’t count and even to try to feed on those things. We should never expect anything but a starving soul and a weak and sickly faith on that kind of diet. Talk about leaving you empty. Paul speaks of it in the very next verse when he warns, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ,” (Colossians 2:8 CSB).

That kind of soul starvation leaves us empty and even enslaves us. Ever wake up in philosophy/deceit jail, having been taken “captive through philosophy and empty deceit”? It’s the incongruity of all incongruities to be set free from sin and death by our incomparable Savior, and then allow ourselves to be hauled back into this prison of worldly thinking, all of it based on men’s traditions and ideas instead of God’s truth. 

Staying diligent about our focus, not letting it slip away from us into greasy half-truths that leave us tired, unfulfilled and off-track really is a big deal. It’s the reason Paul was Spirit-inspired to write this passage. Several verses earlier, he tells us exactly why he’s writing out these instructions for us: “I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with arguments that sound reasonable,” (Colossians 2:4, CSB).

So even if it sounds reasonable, let’s run every thought through the truth of God’s Word by the power of His Holy Spirit. A lot of those empty things we hear from the world that sound reasonable, in truth, just aren’t. Let’s keep our roots firmly planted in Jesus. Life tastes infinitely better right there. Seriously, what’s sweeter than finding our souls nourished—really nourished—by Him? Not all the fries in the land. Not even all the chocolate chips in the bag.


Rhonda Rhea is an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway, and many more. She is the author of 19 books, including the popular romantic comedies co-authored with her daughter Kaley Rhea, Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated and Turtles in the Road. Rhonda and Kaley have also teamed up with Bridges TV host Monica Schmelter for the Messy to Meaningful books and TV projects. Along with Beth Duewel, Rhonda writes the Fix Her Upper series, and she also co-authored Unruffled: Thriving in Chaos with Edie Melson. She speaks at conferences and events from coast to coast, serves on many boards and committees, and stays busy as a publishing consultant. Rhonda says you can find her living near St. Louis drinking too much coffee and snort-laughing with her pastor/husband, five grown children, and five exceptional grandbabies.

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