Saturday, January 4, 2014
I know for me, if I am completely honest with you my readers and myself, too often I live to please everyone around me. In my heart I know that this is not right and ultimately it is behavior that leads naturally to exhaustion, disappointment, and often to failure. As we enter into a new calendar year, maybe it is time to return to our first love and realize that unless we seek God’s kingdom first and ultimately to please him, our level of fulfillment and peace will always come up short. We cannot earn our way to forgiveness and heaven but our actions provide evidence that Jesus dwells in our hearts and is molding us lovingly into the people he wants us to become.
Having only in the last few years become aware of my perfectionist tendencies, I daily have to confront and change this destructive behavior. And, I can tell you from the school of hard knocks that this is much easier said than done. We cannot win a battle this large without running first to Jesus and asking him to provide us all of the necessary tools to fight this battle. Often, I find that we have been given the tools, but Jesus has to remind us to pick them up.
We often hear things from the world around us that seem like truth and these distract us from doing what we already know as right. We need to spend regular time in God’s word, prayer, praise, being thankful, and sharing our God given gifts with others. The world will tell you to center more and more on yourself, to fix the broken you before adventuring in the world around you. I find it ironic that God wants us to in faith step out despite our brokenness and trust him to come alongside us to accomplish his work in the world. When we do so, I observe that the joy brought by serving others will wash away our inward focus and self-pity.
You see, what the world views as foolish, God uses to redeem it. I am not suggesting that if you are suffering and in need of therapy or treatment of some sort, that you should ignore your need for healing. However, I am saying that in the midst of your pain and brokenness God can use you if you are willing to trust him. We must ask for his strength, his faith, and his guidance to act while we muddle our way through life. Not so surprisingly when you trust Christ to guide you, you will find yourself a much stronger, more resilient, and wiser person on the other side of pain and trials.
This week’s verse: 1st Corinthians 1:26 – 31 (The Message)
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”