Is it possible that the reason we aren't walking in our purpose, fully maximizing our potential is that the things we love/desire are not being placed in the proper priority?
We say we love God, we want to live a life that is pleasing to Him, and He is the head of our life, but we also love self, stuff, comfort, acceptance from others, applause, the approval of others, and living by culture's standards perhaps a tad bit more. Sometimes we can be quick to say no, that is not the case with that question, yet our actions speak otherwise. It's similar to how we sometimes say we trust God and know God will take care of our situation. Then we pray and lay it at the altar and quote, "Be still and know that I am God", but the second we get up, we are back trying to fix the problem–supposedly “helping God out.”
Matthew 19: 21 says, "Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’" (NIV) Jesus was answering a young man's questions about how he could have eternal life, exposing the man’s heart when he did, which reflected a sin in his life. The rich young man desired his possessions more than he desired to have eternal life. Because the man's heart wasn't in the right place; his priorities were not in the correct order. Verse 22 says that he went away grieving because he had too many possessions. What Jesus was asking of him was too much for the young man. He chose not to follow Jesus. His love of things took priority over his love for Jesus and desire to follow Him.
When I read this story initially, I thought the young man was just plain silly. Material stuff over eternal life seems like an easy pick to me! But after further thought and re-reading the chapter, I realized that it could have easily been me or any believer in this story. This young man treasured stuff, but it could have been a job, business, relationship, friendship, money, retirement funds, talents and skills, performance, and the list could go on.
To love God is to obey God. (John 14:21; John 14: 15). When Jesus said to give up our own way, take up our cross and come, follow him (Matthew 16:24) it requires that we must be willing to let go of things and follow Him. Letting go doesn't mean you get rid of them so they no longer exist in your life, but rather, you let go of your grip on it. (open hand). Letting go of things is a form of surrendering. We often understand surrendering our lives (as believers, we give our lives to Christ), but it also means our lives in totality. All areas of our lives are surrendered to God, His way and His will. It's not just our eternal destination we are talking about when we say we surrender our lives. We have to surrender our ways, our thoughts, agendas, attitudes, relationships, etc.–fully and completely. Romans 6:13 says that we should give ourselves completely to God. You are giving Him lordship over every area of your life. This is a choice that you have to make daily.
In addition to giving up our own way (surrendering), we also are commanded to follow Jesus. When you follow someone, they are in front of you; they take the lead, they are first. When we follow Jesus, we place Him and His ways as top priority. When we surrender our lives to Jesus AND follow Him, we allow Him to influence and guide all areas of our lives.
Giving up our own ways, and following Christ is a choice we all make. We either choose to or we decided not to. If we could be honest for a second–we surely haven't made this decision every day of our saved lives. At least I haven't! This is a condition (requirement) of our walk with Christ. We can't half-heartedly surrender and follow Christ, and expect the full reward!
Eph 2:10 says that God planned good works for us long ago. I think of us walking in our purpose as a privilege and a reward. If that is the case, then I have a responsibility to walk in my purpose with all that I have, putting as much effort and energy as I would anything else. Part of that effort and energy is making sure we are in the proper state of mind. That right state of mind comes when we place God as the priority in all that we do.
My friends, this all comes down to trust. Either we are going to trust Him, or we are not. Either you will give up YOUR way and follow Him and His ways, or you won't. This isn't a straddle-the-fence decision, in my opinion. Don't be lukewarm–be either hot or cold. It's a no-gray-allowed zone. Will you put to death earthly things (Colossians 3:5) and seek God and the things of God? This is not easy! Some days, weeks, or even months can be a real struggle for some. However, I do believe we can make the right choice through the help and guidance of the holy spirit. He can help us to put things in proper alignment and surrender our desires (that are not in alignment with God). Sometimes, we just need to sit back and let God be God. May our words and actions come into alignment reflecting our heart.
My prayer is that we are not like the young man in this story who loved his "stuff" so much that he chose to turn and go in another direction and not follow Christ. God has given us free will. What will you pick?
Choose this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:14)
Until Next Time~
J.Branch is a wife, mother and child of God. She is passionate about helping others live the life they desire, have fruitful relationships and know who they were created to be and to live a life of purpose.
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