What do you want your life to look like a year from now?
Sometimes when I ask someone what they want in life, they instead tell me what they don’t want.
“I don’t want to be depressed.”
“I don’t want to be fearful.”
“I don’t want to be alone.”
“I don’t want to be addicted.”
It’s often easier to identify what we don’t want than what we do want. Why is this?
THE PROBLEM WITH CHANGE
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition
when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on
making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant
by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
– CS Lewis
What a shocking truth to discover.
How do we end up alone?
How do we end up addicted?
How do we end up unstable?
How do we end up in misery?
How do we end up in bondage?
Our desires are too weak.
We want to be healthy, but aren’t willing to change our diet and exercise.
We want a godly marriage, but aren’t willing to put in the effort.
We want to be at peace, but aren’t willing to take our thoughts captive.
We want to have good relationships, but aren’t willing to invest the time necessary.
We want to be respected, but aren’t willing to do the hard things.
We want to be free, but aren’t willing to do what it takes to experience freedom.
One of those sins that Christians tend to address as "minor," "little," and "unimportant," fear is often deemed unnecessary to address. We don't see it as a big deal, so we just ignore it, hoping it’ll go away. Unfortunately, though, as time goes on, fear not only doesn’t disappear – it actually grows. Before too long, the “little” sin is now the BIG sin that has begun to push us around and is grasping for control over every part of our lives.
I think part of the struggle we have to take fear seriously starts with the fact that fear in and of itself may not be a problem. Fear is a God-given emotion. The danger is found in what we’re fearing and how we respond to that fear.
I am so thankful that God uses people
Our God is a very personal God. He is a relational God. He lives in community, and He designed us to need that community, as well – starting with the fellowship we have through a relationship with Him. But it doesn’t end there – He also created us to need other people. Other Christians. Fellowship and relationships through the local church. Because God uses people.
We need encouragement. We need help. We need hope.
When we’re overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, and broken, we are tempted to isolate. But it’s in those broken moments that we most need each other. We benefit the most from our relationships when it’s the hardest – when we’re most tempted to give up, close up, or shut down. When we’re vulnerable. When we’re scared. When we’re desperate.
The pattern in scripture is that when people (or even the nation of Israel) were desperate, they cried out to God. And God sent a man. God sent a woman. God sent a person. And He used that person to help, encourage, and bring about deliverance, both personally and corporately.
When Adam was alone and needed a helper,
God created Eve.
WHEN DAVID WAS RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE,
GOD GAVE HIM JONATHAN.
When Israel cried out for deliverance in Egypt,
God sent Moses.
1 Corinthians tells us about love, and insert your name. Then ask yourself, is this true of me?
In premarital counseling, it goes further – you insert your fiance’s name, as well, questioning
if he or she is exhibiting that brand of love toward you, as well.
Here’s what mine would look like:
Bethany is patient.
Bethany is kind.
Bethany does not envy.
Bethany does not boast.
Bethany is not proud.
Bethany does not dishonor others.
Bethany is not self-seeking.
Bethany is not easily angered.
Bethany keeps no record of wrongs.
Bethany does not delight in evil.
Bethany rejoices with the truth.
Bethany always protects.
Bethany always trusts.
Bethany always hopes.
Bethany always perseveres.
When I personalize scripture, it makes it much more real, direct, and applicable to my life.
It’s one thing to read about what agape (sacrificial) love looks like; it’s another thing to hold yourself to the standard. As I read through the passage inserting my name, it’s easy to see where I fail and where I need to make adjustments in the way I love the people God has
placed in my life.
In a word: passionate.
About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even
iced skinny soy mochas.