Some want to create empires and erect edifices to themselves. Others may not want things on such a large scale, but they are busy making a living, buying houses and cars, accumulating possessions, and constructing nest eggs while planning for their future. All in all, they’re focused on earthly assets. They plan for the future, but they’re not looking far enough down the road to their ultimate future. That future for some, may be closer than they think. To be clear, possessions are fine in the right place; until, they possess you.
2 Peter 3:10-13But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation (conduct or behavior) and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The bigger point is all these things are going to burn. Talk about global warming! There will not be so much as a speck of ash left. And then what? What is important to you? Consider what Jesus taught us.
And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:16-21)
What on earth could possibly be worth comparing to, much less desiring, anything in Heaven? We are told that “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Ultimately, God is our Exceeding Great Reward; nevertheless, Jesus told us to store up treasures in Heaven where they cannot be destroyed. Furthermore, He said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (see Matthew 6:20-21). Would it be better to be busy about our Father’s business than about the temporal here and now? If we believe Scripture, as many of us profess we do, shouldn’t we be more focused on lost souls and discipling nations for the glory of God? Everything we do will be tested by fire. Where are you in relation to His will? His will may include great possessions, or it may not. In the long run, what place do they have in your life?
1 Corinthians 3:12-15Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Shouldn’t all Christian marriages be strong and vibrant? Nevertheless, we know not all are. There are tools, such as premarital counseling, marriage conferences, books, blogs and more. All of which are designed to create and maintain strong marriages. But, let’s forget all about them for a moment. As great as they may be, they don’t necessarily mean a hill of beans if we don’t get this first thing right: God being the Absolute Center of the marriage. And that means each partner has to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Think about this next statement, and it is a strong one. Some might be offended by it, but slow down and think it through. To be clear, it is not judgmental. Marriages that are struggling or are in deep trouble are out sync with God. If your relationship with Him is off, your relationship with others will be off. Let’s touch on a few areas in order to bring more clarity to that statement.
Maybe it’s not a question of whether the husband and the wife love God; rather, it has more to do with their knowing who they in Jesus Christ, their worthiness and whether they love themselves as God loves them. Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. If you do not love yourself the way God loves you, how would you expect to love your spouse well, let alone anyone else? If you treat someone the way you want to be treated, you may not treat him or her as you should. Maybe at first you will, but at some point, self-sabotage may set in, and the next the thing you know that relationship is strained at best. This is especially true if you feel unworthy to have a strong relationship, or in this case, a strong marriage. We won’t cover the subject of worthiness as a whole at this point, but know that Jesus paid the price for you to be worthy. Why? Because God actually does love you!
Those who don’t receive God’s love and fail to love themselves, become needy. They are not as free to love as they could. Consequently, they get married in hopes their spouse will fill that void. When they find he or she is incapable of filling it, they become disenchanted. Relying on your spouse to fill a God-sized vacuum can be dangerous to your marriage. It may lead to jealousy and envy, not to mention adultery in some unfortunate instances. Moreover, it can be very difficult to affirm your husband or wife, if you are so focused on being affirmed. In some cases, if one, or perhaps both, don’t find affirmation in the marriage, he or she may seek it elsewhere. One possible clue that someone hasn’t received Father’s affirmation is by the answer they give to the question of why they married someone. “He makes me happy” or “She makes me happy.” It’s not the job of the husband or wife to make someone happy. That’s an inside job. It’s a decision on everyone’s part. No one can do that for you. In short, without receiving God’s affirmation and properly loving yourself, you may place unrealistic expectations on your loved one.
If God is not your First Love, His will won’t have first place in your life either. We know marriage was God’s idea. If you’re not married yet, it would probably be a great idea to check with Him about whom you marry. If you already are married, Scripture makes it clear that you are to stay married unto death do you part. Going further, by filtering your decisions through His will, your marriage has a far greater ability to stay on track, than if you strictly focus on what you want. The Lord has a place for you, which includes what church you’re part of (see 1 Corinthians 12:18; Colossians 1:18), what community in which you live, and even your vocation. What you buy, when you buy it and how you pay for it, are other important considerations in relation to His will. How many marriages have been negatively effected by financial woes? Many of those difficulties could have been avoided by asking God about the decisions involved with them at the start. What we think is the best thing, may not be the best thing. In fact, it could be quite the opposite. Our Father never withholds anything good from us, and He will protect us from self-sabotage if we allow Him to speak to our hearts. Remember, He knows the ending before the beginning. How many have gone into unnecessary debt because they didn’t wait on God, or trust Him for that matter? Being out of sync with Him effects everything. There is more that could be said, but we’ll stop here.
Have you ever experienced burnout? Perhaps, you’re going through it now, or headed that direction. One reason people burn out is they lose touch with their why. For others, they don’t really have one -they lack vision. Do you know why you are doing the things you’re doing right now, or why you did things? What reason do you tell yourself as to why you’re on your current course of life? Why are you on this road? Introspection can be very powerful if you are honest with yourself. Are you motivated or inspired? There’s a difference, and each plays a role in whether you have energy or are depleted of it.
Inspiration is a divine influence or action on a person. It is action or power of moving the intellect or emotions -influence. It draws or breathes in. To inspire means to breathe or blow into or upon: infuse life by breathing. To be inspired, therefore, relates to an extraordinary quality or excellence, as if arising from some external creative impulse -Divine inspiration.
Motivation is incentive or drive. It’s the motivating force or influence. To motivate simply means to provide a motive, and a motive is something (need or desire) that causes someone to act. Motivation can be internal or external.
Motivation pushes or drives you; inspiration leads you to higher places. Motivation requires energy; inspiration gives you energy. Your reason why is important, and plays a role in how effective you are. It connects with the importance of vision. It would be easy to get lost in the mechanics of doing things, while getting stuck in the details. This can lead to lethargy. Please understand that methodology and attention to details are important, but neither of these are an end in themselves. Consider Isaiah 40:31, But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Renewed strength requires waiting on the Lord. Waiting is not sedentary; it’s active anticipation, looking for God’s next move; but not moving until He says so. It’s a state of rest, based on faith. It’s listening first, and then acting or obeying. It’s a place of communion where your vision is ever before you because the One Who gave it to you is front and center.
Why am I doing this is a great question; however, a greater one would be, for Whom am I doing this? There is nothing wrong with motivation, sometimes we do need to push through. Nevertheless, inspiration will give you the strength to push and refresh you afterward. Keep your vision in front of you. At the same time, clarify where the vison is from. In other words, make sure it’s inspired by God, and that is another lesson for another day.
Isaiah 40:28He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Galatians 6:9-10And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Contrary to what some might believe to be true, worrying is irresponsible. One may confuse it with regards for the welfare of others in some situations; but, in a moment this will show that it is different. Likewise, when you worry over something entrusted to you, you are not exercising good stewardship. It is not the same thing as mindfulness. Worry is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems (real or imagined). It’s a form of fear. To worry, then, is to give way to anxiety or to be anxious. It means to panic in some cases. In its Old English and West German origin, it is a verb that gave rise to the meaning ‘seize by the throat and tear,’ and later ‘harass.’ In one sense, it counterfeits consideration for another, because a portion of it falls in the camp of self-preservation. That includes the fear of losing someone or something.
For instance, when someone is entrusted with a position, such as a manager, stewardship would be exercising mindfulness in respect to benefitting the employer, employees and customers -the overall business. Worry is concerned with losing face as the result of poor performance and/or being fired. Of course, this can be attached to pride, where the concern is more about looking good than doing good. On a side note, if a person wraps his or her identity in the position, he or she may have an identity crises. Biblical stewardship can be summed up in one verse: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).
On the surface, it may appear that worry is a sign someone “truly cares” for another; but, how beneficial is it really? Let’s think this through a bit. Why do you suppose some don’t like to share with others that they’re going through a difficult time? They don’ want others to worry about them. In other words, it stresses them out when they stress over them. Oh sure, there may be a part of them appreciates the concern or may even crave the attention. We’re designed to receive love, so there is an attachment to the desire for it. Do you like seeing loved ones stressed out? Part of loving others well includes caring for them for their sake alone. It is an outward focused mentality which doesn’t require a return. Empathy is wonderful; worry is not! When you come to someone’s aid minus the worry, you help create an environment in which he or she can more easily move the needle in the right direction.
Question: is worry a Kingdom principle? When it comes to being responsible or exercising good stewardship, it would behoove us to do it God’s way. One thing you can read throughout the Bible is one simple phrase: “Fear not, for I am with you!” Another one that can be found in conjunction with it is, “Be strong and courageous.” What part of fear not do we not understand? In Mark five and Luke eight, we read about Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, who asked to Jesus to lay hands on his daughter because she was at the point of death. Shortly after, someone from his household reported to him that his daughter was dead and he need not bother Jesus any longer. That report was the worst thing a parent could ever hear; and yet, what did Jesus immediately say? “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). On numerous occasions, when Israel was facing war or impending doom, God would tell them to fear not. Obviously, worry has no place in the Kingdom of God.
How does worry solve a problem? It doesn’t. In fact, it impedes problem solving. It cripples our thought processes; whereas, peace allows them to freely flow. To illustrate the point, let’s use water. We’ve all heard the phrase, “frozen with fear.” If water freezes, does it freely flow? Of course, not. With peace comes warmth, and warm water flows freely. When thoughts are free-flowing, creativity is active. In short, you are more apt to find solutions in a state of peace than through worry. Not only that, from this position, it is easier to hear from God when we ask Him for wisdom.
Obedience is a Kingdom principle. By definition, to obey means to believe with the intent to conform to the desire of a superior. Believe is the verb form of faith, and faith trusts God! Is worry a component of the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23)? Not by a long shot; but, peace is. When a person worries, is he or she submitting to Holy Spirit? Think about it. Consider this: if Holy Spirit lives in you, so does His peace. Ironically, some believers keep searching for peace; and yet, it already resides in them and is always available! Furthermore, Scripture says, “Let the peace of God rule in your heart” (Colossians 3:15). This is a permissive statement. In essence, you have to grant yourself permission to be at peace. Moreover, by submitting to Holy Spirit, that permission is granted. Just as in the same way Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Through submission, we quench the desire to worry. The responsible thing to do is trust God and walk by faith!