Learning to Live Outside the
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
CBN.com - Do you find
yourself constantly stuck in patterns? Up at the same time each
day, stopping at the same donut shop for coffee on your way to
work, and performing the same job duties within minutes of the
time you worked on the same task yesterday.
If this is you, you are certainly not alone.
There was a time in my life where I literally felt like I lived
in a series of different shaped boxes. I would arrive to a job
each morning where I would sit in an 8x10 box also known as a
cubicle. As I sat in this confined space I would gaze into a small
box of brightly colored shapes and images that sat on the top
of my desk called a computer.
Occasionally, I would get up and leave my personal work box to
go to a larger more common box called a conference room. Here,
people would share their thoughts that originated back in their
personal boxes. Allegedly, these ideas came from “outside
the box”. All of these different boxes fit into a larger
container called a building.
At the end of each day, I would climb into a shiny,
metallic box that moved. This box of alloy and steel would carry
me to what is known as my home box. My home box consisted of roughly
eight smaller boxes within a box (imagine a Faberge egg) that
I shared with my wife (not a box).
These boxes afforded me the opportunity to leave my boxed in
world of the workplace to become part of a community of fellow
box owners. However, I did not spend as much time as I would like
in my home box with my fellow box owners because I spent most
of my time riding in my shiny, metallic box to the box where I
stared at that small box on my desk for 10 hours per day. I looked
at the small box with bright, moving pictures to earn enough money
to pay for my home box and the shiny, metallic box that transported
me between the two.
I guess you could say I felt “boxed in” during this
closed in period of my life. Life was boring, incomplete, and
Fortunately, these feelings only lasted for a brief time but
I think they are indicative of an entire generation people who
feel there is something missing in their lives. These folks are
constantly asking themselves the question, ‘Isn’t
there more to life than this?”
I can answer that question with an unequivocal yes. Living life
in this manner creates an undeniably closed, withdrawn feeling
of emptiness inside and out. There is a knot in the pit of your
stomach knowing there is a whole world of excitement, beauty,
and love that seemingly lies just beyond your neatly packaged
environment. You want to experience, and can experience this bounty,
but you feel hindered by your patterned existence. You believe
that if you step outside your four walled boundaries, your entire
being will collapse around you like a house of cards.
This collapse is called change. Most people are receptive to
the concept of change but to actually participate in it is a completely
I know this analogy seems completely absurd but the thought of
breaking down the walls to that box is a lot like a pre-packaged
TV dinner. You have everything you need: peas, carrots, roast
beef, even a bit of gravy, all bundled neatly in a plastic, sectioned
container. However, the meal is still bland and tasteless.
Sometimes life is the same way. It works, it is functional, but
your lifestyle has taken on the qualities of this pre-packaged
dinner … adequate, safe, yet lacking … you get the
When you have reached this point you can’t help but ask
yourself, “Where is the filet mignon?”
I am here to tell you that the answer to that question lies within
you. So often we configure our lives to the point where there
are no sharp edges, just rounded corners. We lose sight of the
fullness of God’s love for each and every one of us. The
“us” mentioned in the previous sentence also includes
you. And don’t ever think that it doesn’t.
The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the
fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such
there is no law.”
‘Against such there is no law’ suggests that there
are no boundaries or restrictions in relation to living our lives
by the fruit of the spirit. To live life in such a manner will
remove those four walls comprising our own personal box and place
us in an environment filled with His security, grace, and abundant
Change is good, especially when we are removing the shackles
that are binding us to a life of blandness and unfulfilled expectations
that we have placed upon ourselves. Who wants to be functional
and adequate when we can be bursting with an unparalleled sense
of freshness and feeling truly alive?
As the aforementioned scripture in Galatians suggests there are
many qualities associated with living a spirit filled life. An
old, battle-worn Bible that I have had for nearly 20 years features
a wonderful prayer for those who are desperate to leave behind
a life of mundane plainness for a life more abundant.
Here is a portion of that prayer:
Lord, I pray …
… for LOVE, the kind that streams from a heart overflowing,
a natural selfless love …
… for JOY that is present in all circumstances of life
… for PEACE of mind and spirit amidst the rush of busy
schedules – the peace of a heart right with God, that comes
from a clear conscience …
… for FAITHFULNESS to my daily tasks however ordinary,
and to You, Lord, and Your Word …
… for SELF-CONTROL, to be purposeful and to be aware of
all my decisions and actions and their consequences …
Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and let these fruits be seen in
ever-increasing ways – daily – so it will be truly
“Christ in me.”
Today is a new day and a new year. Pack those boxes away that you have been living in and allow God
to show you the realities of His limitless love and fullness.
Portions contained within this article from
the Transformer Study Bible.
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