Sometimes you’re encouraged, and other times disappointed. It’s a matter of going in and precluding all that with, ‘This is what I do, not who I am.’ I need to be who I am in the process of doing what I do. I need to stay true to what it is I’m really here for. And that’s the hardest thing, the biggest challenge.
-Craig T. Nelson
Do you like a challenge? If yes, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
Where is my life going in relation to my faith in Jesus Christ?
What is my life goal, my mission statement—the reason I get up in the morning?
Do I have more or less enthusiasm for my faith than I had a year ago, two years ago…?
And the most important one:
Is Jesus really Lord of my life, the captain of my ship? Or do I just say he is?
There’s a way of measuring whether Jesus is at the center of our entire life and all that we have, or whether he’s slipped to the back of the bus. Maybe it didn’t happen deliberately or suddenly, but perhaps over time the original glow of faith has somewhat faded a bit. Whatever the reason, Jesus is just not front-and-center anymore.
What’s the best way of gauging Jesus’ current standing in our lives?
We just need to see how often we think about others and how we treat them. They take an important place in our lives only when Jesus takes first place. Ask yourself, Is Jesus so much in control of my life that:
I would actually sell my house if he wanted me to just to free up my cash for some kind of ministry?
I would accept the responsibility for my actions, apologize, change my attitude, and try to be more loving, caring, and humble?
I would confront, and let go of, an addiction that has controlled my life and deeply hurt those I love?
When Jesus is second, or third, or tenth, we can be sure that the needs of others and love or respect for them won’t even be on the screen. It’s I,me, and mine all the way.
Before you get guilt-ridden over this (that’s not my intention), try doing this: stop and think about your life mission statement. I mean actually list on paper the order of things in your life that are absolutely essential. Our family has done this, talking through, brainstorming, and listing on a large sheet of paper to be placed on the wall what is really important to us. We came up with six things. So as the weeks and months pass by, we can frequently glance at what we think most valuable and check our daily schedule of events against what we have written. It keeps us on target.
What’s on the top of our list?
Service to Christ and others is high, and sometimes we will have to dump what is scheduled that day, or have to change things around to accommodate our priorities.
You’ve heard of the tyranny of the urgent? It raises its head every day of the week. Keeping your life mission statement in front of you is like the difference between flying by instruments and flying by the seat of your pants. If every day is determined just by whatever we feel at the moment is a must do, then we’ll abandon our instruments and will end up running out of gas and going down somewhere in the desert.
So try intentionally putting your priorities down in writing, and reduce all the hubbub that occupies your time, including the unnecessary time you spend on the computer or watching television. Cut back on the endless sports, dance, and music schedules for your children. Prayerfully consider if this is God’s plan for them. If not, use the precious opportunity to actually sit down with them and get to know them. Downsize your possessions—reduce your work hours and spend more time with your spouse or friends. Allow the hold of possessions to loosen by actually giving yourself and your goods to the glory of God.
The end result is a happiness and contentment that can’t be found any other way. This is in fact what Jesus said would happen.
What is your greatest challenge?
Soon on ThM: Sustaining Change in Your Life: When It Hurts More to Stay the Same by Chaplain Chris Linzey (15:00 hrs-EST) Start, Stop, and Continue: See A Change in Your Lifeby Pastor Jimmy Proulx (12:00 hrs-EST)
John I. Snyder is an international pastor (currently serving at Starnberg Fellowship, Starnberg, Germany), conference speaker, and author of the book Resenting God: Escape the Downward Spiral of Blame (ranked #1 on Christian Ethics in Theology on Amazon) from Abingdon Press. His highly acclaimed prayer guide Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God (ranked #1 on Meditations on Amazon books, #1 on Prayer on Amazon Kindle, #9 on Christian living on Amazon) from Thomas Nelson Publishers has transformed the lives of readers all over the world, taking them on a 100-day journey in prayer over a specific issue or circumstance in their lives. John received his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and he received his Doctor of Theology degree magna cum laude in New Testament Studies from the University of Basel, Switzerland. John has been featured on Focus on the Family, Moody Radio, Fox News, Faith Radio Network, Cru, American Family Radio Network, In the Market with Janet Parshall, The Bottom Line with Roger Marsh, Miracle Channel, Bill Martinez Live, and many more.