You Have to Know It to Use It

One of Satan’s master strokes against a follower of Christ is to get them to believe they don’t need to read the bible, or that it is boring, or that it doesn’t apply, or that they can’t understand it, etc.  Because don’t know it, we struggle being able to use it when it is needed most.

Satan is not afraid of you repeating the words of someone like me, but he is terrified of the Word of God that you choose to believe.

Scripture is alive and active! (Heb 4:12)  Reading it, knowing it, and understanding how to apply it, WILL transform your life!

Life is Full of Journeys; Own Yours

Life is fully of journeys. We are always moving from point A to point B to point C in our health, our relationships, our employment, our education, etc. Out of all the journeys you are traveling, your spiritual development journey is by far your most important journey. One of the bible verses I use to determine that is from the words of Jesus found in Matt 6:33, “Seek first God, His Kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.

The point Jesus is making is that our first priority is to seek God, and His way of doing things. If we will do that, we can trust Him with the other details. Matt 6:33 is surrounded by verses on not worrying. We worry about so many things. Worry is always the absence of trust. Worry steals our peace. Seeking other things creates reason to worry. Seeking God first removes the reasons to worry.

Therefore, your spiritual development journey is the most development journey of your life. As you seek first God, and His way of doing things, you will be better at all the other things life throws at you, and all the other areas or developmental journeys of your life. As you experience the transformation that comes from doing things God’s way, you will also be a better spouse, parent, employee/employer, etc. God’s way is doing things is always better.

Hebrews 12:1 uses the imagery of a marathon when it describes our lives, “Let us throw off everything that hinders us, and the sin that so easily entangles us. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. The phrase “marked out for us” indicates intentionality. God has marked the race out before us. Your journey is not an accident. Now, we can make choices that forfeit things or derail things or lead us on detours of our lives, but God has a plan.

Paul wrote “You are the workmanship of God, created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). Think about that. God has a list of things He wants to accomplish in and through you that He “prepared in advance”. In advance! Again, Eph 2:10 indicates intentionality, planning, and purpose.

One more biblical passage to demonstrate my point in this article, “…He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands…” (Acts 17:26-27). So let me sum this article up; God made you, created a list of things he wanted to do in and through you, determined the era you were to live in, and the locations you would live at. In return, He ask you to seek Him first, and do things His way, so he can provide and protect on your behalf. Your spiritual development journey is the most important journey of your life. Don’t waste another day.

God’s Way of Doing Things is ALWAYS Best

Life is fully of journeys. We are always moving from point A to point B to point C in our health, our relationships, our employment, our education, etc. Out of all the journeys you are traveling, your spiritual development journey is by far your most important journey. One of the bible verses I use to determine that is from the words of Jesus found in Matt 6:33, “Seek first God, His Kingdom, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.

The point Jesus is making is that our first priority is to seek God, and His way of doing things. If we will do that, we can trust Him with the other details. Matt 6:33 is surrounded by verses on not worrying. We worry about so many things. Worry is always the absence of trust. Worry steals our peace. Seeking other things creates reason to worry. Seeking God first removes the reasons to worry.

Therefore, your spiritual development journey is the most development journey of your life. As you seek first God, and His way of doing things, you will be better at all the other things life throws at you, and all the other areas or developmental journeys of your life. As you experience the transformation that comes from doing things God’s way, you will also be a better spouse, parent, employee/employer, etc. God’s way is doing things is always better.

Hebrews 12:1 uses the imagery of a marathon when it describes our lives, “Let us throw off everything that hinders us, and the sin that so easily entangles us. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. The phrase “marked out for us” indicates intentionality. God has marked the race out before us. Your journey is not an accident. Now, we can make choices that forfeit things or derail things or lead us on detours of our lives, but God has a plan.

Paul wrote “You are the workmanship of God, created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). Think about that. God has a list of things He wants to accomplish in and through you that He “prepared in advance”. In advance! Again, Eph 2:10 indicates intentionality, planning, and purpose.

One more biblical passage to demonstrate my point in this article, “…He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands…” (Acts 17:26-27). So let me sum this article up; God made you, created a list of things he wanted to do in and through you, determined the era you were to live in, and the locations you would live at. In return, He ask you to seek Him first, and do things His way, so he can provide and protect on your behalf. Your spiritual development journey is the most important journey of your life. Don’t waste another day.

Some Trade-Offs Worth Making

Life is full of trade-offs. Trade-offs are determined by our value system, in other words, what we place the highest value on at that time. Our trade-offs determine the results of our lives. As we make the various trade-offs of our everyday life, our decisions are leading us down a path that is paved with the results of the various trade-offs we have made. If the path we are traveling is not taking us to the designation or end result we are hoping for, it is the direct result of the trade-offs we have made.

In my article from Friday, September 23rd, I asked you to consider trade-offs you are currently making that are either having a negative affect on your life or will have a negative affect if you do not deal with it. In this article I will write about some trade-offs worth making.

In Matthew 4:17-22 we find a great story about Jesus calling his first four disciples. Peter & Andrew, then James & John, left everything to follow Jesus. They “immediately” traded their known life for unknown results of following after Jesus. Think of all Peter, Andrew, James, and John exchanged or traded-off to follow Christ. They left everything, and they did it “at once”.

Trade knowledge for experience. Knowing something is great, but it is only though experience that we really find freedom, truth, and life. In the Garden of Eden, there were two trees; the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. Always choose “to eat” from the tree of life.

Trade control for trust. Control is a myth. Choose silence your need to feel in control by demonstrating your trust in God. God’s ways often do not make sense. Choose trust anyway. According to Jesus in John 14, trust and obedience are the truest tests of our love.

Trade regret for repentance. Life is too short to live it filled with regret. Repentance, defined as, a change of mind, a change of direction, and a change of purpose is God’s solution for regret. Let go of your past, and allow God heal you, restore you, and remove your condemnation.

Trade security for significance. Nothing of significance can happen in a completely secure place. Significance requires risks, vulnerability, and a willingness to be stretched out of your comfort zone. If you want to make a difference, you have to be willing to move past security through uncomfortable risks to significance.

Trade spectating for participating. Get out there and enjoy life. Actually live life versus merely watching life past you by from the bleachers. Trade flesh-responses for Spirit-responses. Galatians 5 say that our flesh and the Holy Spirit are always at war with each other for control. Yielding to the cravings and tendencies of our flesh strengthens our flesh and weakens the work of the Spirit within us. Surrendering to the working of the Holy Spirit, increases the flow of the Spirit, and weakens the battle of our flesh.

Trade inward focus for outward focus. Most people think inwardly, or about themselves and their stuff. Choose to think outwardly; about others. Thinking of others first is a mark of maturity and humility. Thinking outwardly will change your perspective.

Trade-Offs Determine Results

Life is full of trade-offs. A trade-off is something we exchange for something else. Obviously, we trade money for the various products we buy, but there are many more trade-offs we make also. We trade time, energy, finances, health, comfort, opportunities, peace of mind, sleep, relationships, dreams, goals, a clear conscious, etc… for what we want in that particular moment.

Yes, it is obvious that our live are full of trade-offs. Trade-offs are determined by our value system, in other words, what we place the highest value on at that time. Our value system tends to change based on our circumstances. For example, I would never pay $20 for a hamburger; that is just not going to happen.

But if I get hungry enough, I would trade a twenty-dollar bill for a hamburger. Those “I’d never…” statements we make seem to be “adjusted” to fit our situation if the circumstances get dire enough, or tempting enough, or luring enough.

There is a great story in Matt 4:17-22 about Jesus calling his first disciples; “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.  Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him”

Think of all Peter, Andrew, James, and John exchanged or traded-off to follow Christ. They left everything, and they did it “at once”. Now, think about what those four men would have missed if they had not been willing to make that trade.

Our trade-offs determine the results of our lives. As we make the various trade-offs of our everyday life, our decisions are leading us down a path that is paved with the results of the various trade-offs we have made. If the path we are traveling is not taking us to the designation or end result we are hoping for, it is the direct result of the trade-offs we have made.

Trade-offs affect every single area of out lives; our finances, our health, our relationships, our spiritual development, and on and on the list goes. Let’s use a simple example; if we stay up late to watch TV or play on the computer, or talk with a friend, then the next day are falling asleep at work. So we trade sleep for whatever we were doing, then we pay the price for that trade-off the next day. If we continue that making that trade-off, the lack of sleep will continue to affect us.

So let’s say, that we lose our job because the boss caught us dosing off. Staying up late, and losing a little sleep seemed harmless, until it was allowed to continue to the point we lose a job over it. I could pick any area of trade-off to make the same point; trade-offs by themselves are not that harmful by themselves, but when allowed to continue repetitiously, they accumulative result can be devastating.

This week consider trade-offs you are currently making that are either currently having a negative affect on your life or will have a negative affect if you do not deal with it. Next week, I will write about some trade-offs worth making.