She was one of those out-going, easy to be around people who never make you feel like a pair of brown shoes in a room full of tuxedoes. She’d have been a great ambassador for America. I’m sure she’s been one for her husband. He needed one. He became a pastor.

She graced us with her friendship when her husband was in seminary. They attended the church I pastored.

After his graduation she stayed in touch through the now almost lost art of writing letters. They were upbeat and informative, a kind of pep talk from someone who’d earned the right to talk that way because she practiced what she preached. Sort of like Michael Jordan talking about basketball.

Her letters always ended in the same way: In his adventure.

 I’m ashamed to say that I treated her signature sign-off with the skepticism of an atheist hearing about a miracle. I’d read “In his adventure” and think, “Just wait—you’ll see that life is sometimes more nightmare than an adventure.”

Life has a way of making you lose touch. Time and geography wash relationships away as easily as a high tide does a sand castle. I haven’t heard from her in years, but I hope she still has this optimistic view of life. Because I’ve learned over the years that she’s right. Living with God is an adventure.

A grace adventure.

At least, that is, it’s an adventure if you live with The Christian Attitude toward life—the attitude of optimism that “through Jesus, my life is a grace G.O.O.D.”—a God orchestrated opportunity for development, disposition, and doxology.

Opportunity for Adventure

An opportunity comes when we find ourselves in circumstances where we can gain something desirable. Things like a Bull Market . . . a recovered fumble on your archrival’s two-yard line . . . and Black Friday sales.

God orchestrates our lives so that they bristle with opportunities to become more of the kind of people he wants us to be. Living in his adventure is recognizing this and taking advantage of it.

Living in his adventure is first of all recognizing that every day is an opportunity filled day. The Garden of Eden was full of trees that “were pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). And God fills our days with people, situations, and challenges that are “for our good that we might become sharers in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

Opportunity Focused

So, a Grace Focused Optimist starts his/her day thinking, “Today is a Grace G.O.O.D. – a day that’ll be full of opportunities to become a better Christian.”

Then a Grace Focused Optimist goes through the day seeing opportunities in three specific areas.

1. A Grace Focused Optimist sees every person as a model incarnating some trait God wants us to develop or a flesh and blood gym where traits like kindness, gentleness, and mercy can grow through being exercised . . .

2. A Grace Focused Optimist sees every situation as soil where we can plant the seeds of trusting and obeying God so that later on we’ll reap the harvest of stronger faith and prompter obedience . . . or a mentor tutoring us in the skills of contentment, patience, and waiting on the Lord—traits in which too many of the Lord’s people are no more than kindergartners not PhDs.

3. A Grace Focused Optimist sees every challenge as a Goliath where we can put on the Lord’s armor, win a victory, and grow into a battle-tested veteran able to help the Lord’s raw recruits.

Opportunity for Growth

Still, if we’re going to profit from every day’s opportunities, it’s not enough to recognize them. We’ve got to take advantage of them, too. Many Christians don’t. By this time in their lives they ought to be spiritual giants. Instead, they’re spiritual pygmies. They’re what Hebrews 5:13 calls chronological adults but spiritual “infants”.

The Old Testament man Lot is an example of people who are thirty-five or fifty or sixty-five years old by the calendar but still wearing diapers in the eyes of God. Read his story in Genesis chapters twelve through nineteen and you’ll see he should have become a Hall of Fame believer. But he languished in the minor leagues.

What kept Lot from growing? The same thing that keeps any believer from becoming the godly person they could be: a failure to want spiritual growth.

Grace Focused Optimists thank God that they have begun to realize that their spiritual growth is more important than anything else. They know it’s the primary way they glorify God, enjoy him, and become blessings to others. They’ve come to see that the more they grow spiritually the more they’ll live the abundant life Jesus came to give them (John 10:10).

So, their concern with a rude waitress or a broken tooth that’ll cost $750.00 to cap or pressure at work to meet this month’s quotas—in other words, their concern in the ebb and flow of everyday living—is, “How can I grow as a Christian through this?”

We may not be able to share the gospel like Billy Graham or sing like Amy Grant or write like Max Lucado. But every one of us can live the adventurous life of Grace Focused Optimism by making God’s priority our priority. And his priority’s our spiritual growth.

WHEN we begin recognizing that every day, all day long, God orchestrates our lives with opportunities for spiritual growth; AND when we begin wanting growth more than we want anything else and make growing our primary concern all day long; THEN we begin living in his adventure.

Your life, ordinary and humdrum as it may be, is really an adventure waiting for you if you’ll just take advantage of it.

Why don’t you start now?

It’s a pretty cool way to live.

“O” is for opportunity.

 

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