Check Your Connections

I was frustrated. Why did I have to wash the dishes before I put them in the dishwasher? And why did I have to re-wash the same dishes after they came out of the dishwasher? Did I mention I was frustrated? I was ready to give up and wash all the dishes by hand or give in and purchase a new dishwasher. The one I was using was not functioning as it had been designed.

Then my husband discovered the problem. One part of the dishwasher, the tube that delivers water from the water source to the top rack of the dishwasher, was not properly connected. Instead, it was sitting next to the opening that provided the connection. Close but not connected. Once the tube was in place, the dishwasher cleaned my dishes perfectly. No more frustration!

This episode caused me to reflect on my life and the purpose for which I had been created (see Eph. 2:10). When I feel frustrated with my attitudes and actions, when my life seems to be functioning at a “less than acceptable” level, could it be a problem with a crucial connection?

We have been created for relationship with both God and others. When either connection is broken or misaligned, life becomes less than what God intended.

We must take an honest look at our relationship with God. Scripture warns that it is possible to do good works, even in the name of Jesus and not be connected to Him (see Matt. 7:21–23). It is possible to do good works in our own strength, but it is not sustainable. You may ask, “Why is it so hard to love that unlovable person?” or “Where is the joy and peace I once experienced?” This is the time to examine if you are connected to the Source of love, joy, and peace, realizing that apart from Him we can do nothing (see John 15:5). This can be an opportunity to confess and reconnect.

In our personal relationships, we are instructed to make every effort live in peace with everyone (see Heb. 12:14) and to make things right between ourselves and others before approaching God (see Matt. 5:23–24). If we ignore these instructions, we will be frustrated with the quality of our lives. Make things right with others. Reconcile and reconnect—this is the way of Jesus.

In this season of Advent, in this season of reflection and waiting, I encourage us all to check our connections. Am I properly connected to others? Is there something I need to make right? Am I completely connected to Jesus? Am I still trying to do good works in my own strength?

Let’s not live our lives like my dysfunctional dishwasher. Instead, acknowledge that close is not good enough. Properly connect with God again so that you may be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God (see Eph. 3:19). And from that fullness, restore and repair your connections with the people in your life.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Eph. 3:20-21).

Jen Vogel

Jen Vogel

Jen is the national director for Alliance Women; she serves in a variety of ministry capacities, including on the President's Cabinet for The Alliance. She enjoys reading, travel, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle daily. Jen and her husband, Doug, attend Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa.

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