The Values of Life I most want to pass on…
Know who you are: Never ever forget that you are saved by the grace and mercy of Christ. Apart from Him, you are nothing. That was not just true for salvation, that is true for every moment of life. Placing our whole identity in Christ is the most liberating reality of life. We do not have to long for acceptance because we are already accepted. We do not have to strive for honor and acclaim because Christ has made us honorable in Himself. It is liberating because we don’t have to live up to expectations we put on ourselves or that others put on us we simply need to be faithful with whatever God has placed before us. That is success. We are then free to live by faith because we don’t need to worry about how things turn out – that is God’s business. We are free to be honest and transparent because we realize that we are in process with the Lord and have not “arrived”. Show me a leader who “has it all together” and I will show you a leader who is hiding something. The world (and, often the church) will scream at us to find who we are in what we do and the visible accomplishments we have. That path will lead to despondence or pride – it is a lie. It is in Christ alone that we find life and meaning.
Rely on your source: As we live out who we are in Christ, we realize that we cannot live the life God has called us to on our own power. God has graciously given us His Word and Spirit. We must put knowing our Lord as the first and central priority of life. God has revealed Himself in His Word and revealed who we are as well. Spend time knowing the Word of God and knowing the author of that Word, God Himself. Continually be empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit to give you understanding of Truth and then the wisdom and power to apply that Truth in your life. It is very tempting to know what it means to walk by the Spirit and not actually do it. We must make it a conscious choice to confess sin and allow God by His Holy Spirit to guide and empower us. By the way, you will sin. Perhaps spectacularly. Jesus knew this when He died for you – that is why He died and rose again. God is always waiting for you, you can never sin so bad that God will not gladly welcome you into His arms in love and acceptance.
Love: Jesus said the whole law hangs on two things – love God and love others. When we love God and are directed by Him, the only result possible is to love others. We need to love the ones nearest to us. Love your wife. What an amazingly precious gift a wife is. I am so incredibly thankful for this gift and, should you be married, love your wife sacrificially as Christ loves us. Love your children as well. Don’t try to make them like you, seek to know who God has made them to be and help them live this out. Love the church. Use the gifts and abilities God has given you to encourage and empower your brothers and sisters. Love the lost. Never ever forget that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He has given us the incredible privilege to be involved in His work of building His kingdom – reaching the lost and making disciples.
Make disciples: God has not called us to build good programs. He has called us to make disciples. We are to not just teach the word of God but invite others to know God through the Word. We need to get our hands dirty in messy relationships – and discipleship is messy. Do not be aloof – get in there and share life and relationship with people.
Value others: Maybe this is similar to loving others but I want to make a distinction. God has made each of us wonderfully. We have different talents, abilities and spiritual gifts. None of us have them all. We need each other in the body of Christ. We are not meant to be “lone ranger” type of people. We are to be interdependent on others in the body. God has given others gifts and abilities that will outshine you. Do not be jealous, be thankful and rejoice in that. It is when we value each other and our uniqueness and then come together that we can really experience the church and really be equipped to live missionally.
Be thankful: It seems we can always take one of two postures: Being thankful or feeling entitled. Thankfulness frees us to give. Entitlement is a posture of thinking we should have more – more money, more status, more…… When we posture ourselves as entitled, we have nothing to give because we are wanting to receive more. When we are thankful, we are free to give and serve. These are postures that are not dependent on circumstances.
I sure wish I could say that I have demonstrated the above so well that anyone would want to follow my example. I can’t. I myself am also in process and seeking to make these truths reality in my own life more and more. I implore you to do the same.
Your fellow sojourner,