Monday, March 9, 2015

The best commitment of em all is with God through Christ; it's all about enjoying a daily relationship-calling of love that challenges upwards.

Come snow, come rain, come high waters or whatever, I find that the Christian experience is simply about responding to the ultimate Initiator. We love Him because He first initiated things loving us. It's about cultivating and maintaining right priorities with Him in this most important of all friendships.

You know I'm not talkin' about dead religion here, no, no. Boring! I'm talkin' about livin close with our true Companion and Friend. I'm talkin' about regular vertical communication and obedience that really resonates inside right where you live, and that helps you make the best of every situation.

Yes, I'm talking about putting your vertical first-love-relationship with great warmth of feeling about it first (though feelings should never lead us). Talking about prioritizing following Jesus.. right to the top, that relationship with red hot fervor in it, with full-on passion from it, with an ongoing pure devotion that has a natural outworking of benefit and ministry for the people around us. Do you have such a relationship of J O Y that's marked by this ardor from the Holy Spirit, this enthusiasm in worship, this evangelistic eagerness, this holiness and zeal ..balancing out your walk so to speak? You can enjoy this as you die to your old ways.. I mean say "No" to your old fleshly nature and to this world that commands ya what to do!

The Apostle Paul in Romans 6 says that, "We (believers) were buried with Him (Jesus) through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). Ya say no to the old man if ya will, and yes to a brand new life! 

And the pursuit of this newness of life and holiness in the Lord occurs daily (and it really should daily, even moment by moment..) as we yield ourselves in obedience to God ..instead of yielding to and following our old ways of self-gratification. "Now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life" (v.22).

Question: Do you currently have this 24/7/365 experience of holy newness and abundant life ..where the natural Christian overflow impacts and resurrects lives for time and eternity? Have you been born from above? You can have this!

I like how Pho Fang Chia describes this vital connection... "If you're like me, you've struggled with having to say no to taking on a new responsibility—especially if it's for a good cause and directly related to helping others. We may have sound reasons for carefully selecting our priorities. Yet sometimes, by not agreeing to do more, we may feel guilty or we may think that somehow we have failed in our walk of faith. 

Wisdom recognizes that everything in life has its own season—in human activities as in the realm of nature. Yes, "there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven" (3:1).
Perhaps you are starting a new school, or are about to finish your formal education. Maybe you're gettin' married or becoming a parent for the first time. Maybe you're out applying for a new job, or are entering the workforce after obtaining a new position. Perhaps you are moving from full-time work on into retirement now. Listen, as we each transit moving from season to season, our priorities can slowly or quickly change.. but we can still allow Jesus to be Lord. We can still embrace the Essentials and keep the main thing the main thing. We may need to put aside some of what we did in the past ..some periphery hobbies or now uninteresting interests we used to enjoy.. and then funnel our energy into something new that involves Christian service.
Whatever the case, when life's circumstances bring in changes and new obligations, we each must responsibly and wisely discern what kind of commitments God wants us to make, seeking in whatever we do to "do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). Proverbs 3:6 promises that as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will guide us in the way we should go. Do you need some practical guidance, and a purpose that's bigger than yourself? 

Perhaps you want to come clean and get right with the Lord today. Maybe you need to come back to the Lord and would pray something like... 

Heavenly Father, please forgive me and change me. I turn putting You first.. wanting to live close, holy, and clean inside with Jesus as my Lord. Yes Christ, wash me thoroughly and come take the throne of my heart so to speak. Give me Your wisdom to know what priorities I need to have during this season of my life. Take away the "boring" and give newness of life. Let Your joy overflow to others. Use me so that one day others can also join me in heaven with You. Fill and refill me up with Your Spirit so I can be empowered to obey You everyday. Guide me in all that I do, employin' Your gifts to bless and build up others. I only want to bring You the honor and glory that You deserve ..with the way that I live. Yes, in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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