A phrase I’ve grown weary of hearing over the years is, “you deserve it.” It permeates the advertising world as well as our everyday speech. We tell colleagues they deserve their recent promotion or our friends that they deserve some time away. Commercials try to convince us that we deserve a new car or the latest electronic gadgetry. As followers of Jesus, I hope you recognize that what we deserve is an eternity separated from our Creator. We deserve nothing in this life because we have all squandered what God has entrusted to us. To be frank, we deserve Hell. I think that’s why we spend so much time trying to be comfortable and secure. We know what we deserve and yet do everything in our power to keep from thinking about it.
Archives for July 2014
The atmosphere you create around you will dictate the manner in which you will live. If you fill it with things that are pleasing to God, your life will reflect His beauty. If you fill it with things opposed to His will, your life will be shallow, ineffective, and virtually useless for the Kingdom. The choice certainly seems easy, but what exactly does it mean to “create the atmosphere” around you? Everything we allow into our minds adds to the atmosphere around us. The words we choose to speak add to it as well. The actions we take are the final element that goes into creating the atmosphere that surrounds us.
We all live with some facade. Few are comfortable allowing the world to see all their faults and failures. There are things we wish we did better and things we wish we didn’t do at all. If we’re honest, we all have secrets and things we hide from the view of others. It can range from the smallest bad habit to the most extreme action. We’re so careful to make certain these things never surface, that they do nothing to damage the picture we show to the world. Along the way, we forget one of the earliest lessons we ever learned: there is nothing you can hide from God.
Are you really in love with Jesus? Would you do anything for Him, defend Him no matter the cost, even sacrifice your life for Him? I think it’s easy for us to say we love Jesus. I think we even mean it. The way we live our lives sometimes says otherwise. How often is it more convenient to put Him to the side for just a bit so we can continue on with what we want to do? When you’re in love, the object of your affection is the most important thing to you. You can’t eat or sleep because all you can do is think of that person. Your heart literally aches when you’re apart. Is this the kind of love you have for Jesus? More often than I would care to admit, I fall short of this ideal.
Pastor Steven Furtick was describing a member of his congregation, Tonia Bendickson, when he said, “If it’s necessary and it’s never been done before, she seems to assume that’s because God intends for her to do it.” What an amazing thing to have said about you. How many of us react exactly opposite of the way Tonia does? We see a difficulty and give up before even trying to overcome it. We see a perceived impossibility and believe it instead of trusting God to do what others say cannot be done. Tonia has the proper attitude, the one all followers of Christ should have. She looks at situations through the eyes of Jesus rather than trusting in her own fallible vision.