Posted 05-13-2004 at 14:48:53
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THE EMPTY BOX PRINICPLE
My wife made a fantastic observation the other day (no surprise to me) and I
wanted to share with you.
We have moved into a new place and are getting settled for about two months now,
though it seems like much longer. Melody was unpacking yet another box the other
day when I walked in and found her with things spread all over the bed. She said
that she was sorting through things and trying to decide where to put them. Then
she said, "I've found that you can't do anything with things until you get them
out of the box."
WOW! To me that's an amazing statement that talks about living! How many times
are you stuck in a rut, things are going badly or you are not happy with your
job or your life? How many times have you wanted to invite someone to church
with you, share your Christian values or stand up for the truth, but somehow
just haven't been able to do it? It's the empty box principle! You can keep
things boxed up inside of you or live safely inside of your box, but if you
really want to actually do something, accomplish something, change something or
share something with others, then you first have to get it out of the box.
The things you want to do are just like a packing box full of "things". Unless
you first get them out of the box you won't know how to place them in your life.
It's easy to look at the lives of others and say, "If it had been me I would
have. . ." or "You wouldn't catch me. . .", but somehow you never get it done or
said. We need to really understand that "you can't do anything with it until you
get it out of the box!"
Now there are a couple of scriptural applications to this thought that occur to
me. The first is found in Luke 6:41-42 where Jesus tells us, "And why worry
about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you
think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,'
when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the
log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the
speck in your friend's eye."
Do you need to change something in your life? Then get it out of the box so you
can see it and deal with it!
I was watching an action movie the other night and at one point the hero thought
he was going to die and tried to make peace with God. He said a prayer that went
something like this: "For all of the things I should have said, for all of the
things I should have done I ask your forgiveness." At times maybe that should be
The second scriptural application is found in Philippians 4:13 where the apostle
Paul writes, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." If
there is one thing you learn quickly about the apostle Paul is that he learned
how to get his life out of the box and do something with it. That's the reason
he could claim the strength of Christ for his life! He was no longer trying to
hide in the box; his life was out in the open for everyone (including himself)
to see. When he could see all the parts of his life clearly, then he could
figure out how to organize it and put it in order, with God's help.
So, what's the "Empty box principle"? "You can't do anything with it until you
get it out of the box!" If you want to change your life or change your
relationship to other people or to God, then get it out of the box! Take a good
look at your life, examine where you are in comparison to where you want to be.
Then let Christ strengthen you and go ahead and do it!
My prayer for you and myself is that God may use the "Sword of the Spirit" to
cut open our boxes and turn the contents over to Him! That's the only way we
will ever get it properly sorted out!
Greenville Church of Christ
Greenville, OH, USA