Monday, July 22, 2013

What Would You Like to Accomplish Most in Life?

What would you like to accomplish most in life? Would you like to advance God's Kingdom? Would you like to help others and be an instrument God uses to change society around us; even by being a doctor, teacher, or a Pastor? Would you like to be rich and famous and finally be able to afford the car, home, and clothing you have been wanting for years? Would you like to get married and have children? Would you like to read a number of great books or even write a book yourself? Would you like to excel in a particular career or care for the elderly or spend quality time with your friends and family (really investing in these relationships while you are able)?

What is most important to you in life and would make you feel like you lived your life well at the end of your life?

I think this is a sobering thought because so many of us are simply living day to day or for the fun of the moment without much thought to making an impact as we live or considering what sort of legacy we will leave once we pass away.

I am truly thankful for God's intervention in my life, for how He has shown me my need for Him, and for the ways He has transformed my life, built the fruit of the Spirit in my life (Galatians 5: 22-23), and set me free from the enslaving mentality of feeling like unless I make something of my life according to the world's standards, my life is futile and meaningless. I realize now that living for God and treasuring my relationship with Him, reading His word daily, and resting in Him (knowing He holds my future in His hands) brings true contentment, lasting joy, and a delight beyond words!

It is so interesting how people will view Christianity and what they believe God requires of those who claim to know Him. People have the tendency to believe that all God basically requires of us is to be moral people who attend church weekly, pay tithe, say a few sporadic prayers through out the day or week, and casually read the Bible (or at least make sure to read a good devotional book every morning!)

I am learning that God "requires" the above NOT out of duty or payment to be in right standing with Him, but rather as an expression of our love and commitment to Him, made possible strictly by the death and resurrection of His precious Son, Jesus Christ and the salvation He accomplished on behalf of sinners. I am learning that God wants our whole heart; where we choose and acknowledge Him first in all decisions and situations, seeking after Him from a willing heart out of obedience and gratitude to what He has done for us, growing to have a heartfelt trust in God as time passes and He brings us through lessons and trials, difficulties and hardship in order to build our character, faith and trust in Him, to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8: 29), to purge and refine us, to incline our hearts to Him, and to enable us to be more dependent on Him in every circumstance and to strengthen our commitment to Him. There is so much to say about what being a true Christian entails (as expounded in the Bible) and like a quote I once read stated, "Christianity is All-or-Nothing. The thought of someone calling himself a Christian without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd."

I once heard someone say, "All that will matter one hundred years from now is if you knew the Lord." I agree with this because so often, we live every day for our own glory, seeking to accomplish our goals and obtain what we desire, living selfishly and not giving much thought to what God requires of us. Yet if there really is a God, if He came to this earth and died on behalf of sinners, if He is able to remove our guilt, give us a new heart with new desires, and transform our lives as no self-help book can is logical to question why people do not treasure their walk with God and treat the Lord, in their every decision (this is a process of growing spiritually over time) as the priority above all priorities!

I think when people stray from how God's word describes the state of the human heart (Romans 3: 23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God") and our need to trust in the Savior and turn from our sins, what is preached instead is a "gospel" of God's love without mentioning our need for salvation and repentance. The Bible says God is perfect and holy and we are NOT and how sin cannot stand in His presence. What is commonly preached (possibly in the name of tolerance or not wanting to offend anyone) doesn't show people their NEED for God and more so throws the idea out there that God is some Being who will either love and accept you as you are (without requiring repentance) or as a Being who will prosper your life financially if you know Him. These are both dangerous views to hold because while it is true that God loves and accepts us as we are; that is, it is not by our good works or our own righteousness that we stand clean before Him, He does require Christians to be set apart from the world, to walk in His ways, to fear, trust, and obey Him, to renew our minds (Romans 12: 2, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."), to grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."), and He makes us a new creature in Christ (Second Corinthians 5: 17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.")

As for the prosperity gospel, reading God’s word will quickly correct this view. For, God never promised us a trouble free life or one of prosperity and with all due respect and gentleness, why would we as sinful human beings think that by our obedience or commitment to the Lord we could somehow earn a prosperous, wealthy, or happy life? A Christian has JOY through out circumstances, while HAPPINESS is fleeting and often dependent UPON circumstances. John 16: 33 says, " 'These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.' "

May we be individuals who serve God from willing, surrendered, and passionate hearts that live for God's glory, honor, and longer basing our view of God on how the world sees Him (which is unbiblical).

Truly, God is worthy of our total commitment and praise!


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