Archive for February, 2012

21
Feb
12

significance

I’ve noticed, in the last few years, that I have come to the place where I want everything I do to have significance. Specifically, I really want to find ways to add value to the life of every person I meet and every situation that I encounter; probably has something to do with middle age, but I hope there is something spiritual about it as well.

In all seriousness, I do believe that a mark of spiritual enlightenment and maturity is when we learn to view our world with an outward focus rather than inward.

Before I go any further I know that I have a long way to go in this area. I will be the first to admit that I am the son of Father Adam and Mother Eve, and as such, I am prone to self-centered behaviors and perspectives. I’m just glad that I am learning to see the big picture on a more consistent basis. Simply stated, the big picture is learning to see things as God sees them; it is gaining a godly perspective that translates into the understanding that we have a Kingdom responsibility to serve others. That is what Paul had in mind (I think) when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” He followed up that thought later in 14:12 in saying, “since you are so eager to have spiritual gifts, ask God for those that will be of real help to the whole church.”

John Maxwell teaches that the level of leadership we should all be striving for is that level at which we are investing in other people’s personal development. Our influence is not based on our position or any other authority other than the value and significance we have added to their lives.

That requires us laying down our spiritual and emotional brokenness that is manifested in self-absorbed behavior and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us to a place of wholeness so that we are free to serve others the way Jesus did.

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01
Feb
12

the cart before the horse

Holiness or God? It is possible to have one without the other? I believe the answer is yes (depending on what you mean by holiness). But the question remains, which one? As Oswald Chambers noted, “Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God.” Strange indeed!

However, I do understand what he was referring to. I spent a lot of time early in my walk with the Lord consumed with my pursuit to be like Jesus without any real regard for my relationship with him. Like all of us, I was a product of my environment. It was an environment in which religion was the order of the day and relationship with God was touted, but always buried under the overwhelming burden of works.

Before I go further perhaps I should remind you that holiness is a necessary requirement for us as followers of Christ (Hebrews 12:14), however holiness is always the byproduct of our relationship with God; not the other way around. True holiness can never be attained through the self-flagellation of religious duty. As Paul stated in Galatians 2:21, “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” This doesn’t pertain to just the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament, but any set of rules or directives that we try to use to earn favor (i.e. manipulate) with God. That’s really what legalism boils down to – our attempt to control God. To put him into a box of our making and define him by limited terms rather then enjoying him and the relationship he has called us into.

Exodus 34:14 makes it clear that God is “passionate about his relationship with you” (NLT). Are you that passionate about your relationship with him? Or are you consumed with keeping the rules? Trust me, that’s no way to live!