“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
For most of my life, I’ve gotten discouraged when efforts I made toward personal goals didn’t bring quick results. That struggle continued for a while even after becoming a follower of Christ. I gave up too fast in ministry work, assuming that nothing I was doing was amounting to much, since I didn’t notice big changes happening. With a bit more balanced perspective, I can see how faulty my thinking was. For example:
– I was taking on all the responsibility for success. God wanted me to do my part, but to stay aligned with His purposes and timing.
– I was basing success on only what I could see. God wanted me to trust that He is always working, many times in ways I wouldn’t see or understand until later.
If we work for God faithfully and fully, we can be assured that work will ultimately help grow His kingdom.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, But on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18
Have you heard the phrase, “don’t be so Heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good?” I’ve been guilty of the opposite – sometimes focusing so much on what’s right in front of me that I lose the larger and longer view. My new goal is to have a kind of double vision, where I can live each day here fully aware of God’s presence and the life to come. Balancing the two mindsets would lead to a more joyful journey.
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“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”
Are you an “idea” person? I used to be great at coming up with plans and dreams. But I had a habit of rushing headlong into trying to accomplish them without enough planning. So, those great ideas often got abandoned before I made any progress on them. I’ve realized the importance of slowing down, to give myself a chance to think, and especially to pray, about a new plan. That way, I can know better what I’m getting into, and that it will be aligned with God’s plan for me.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
I’ve found this to be a powerful principal, both for me individually and for those around me. It’s a matter of attitude: whether good or bad things happen to me (usually a combination), I can choose to have joy and hope. The effects of that choice seem to ripple outward through my family and onward, wherever they roam.
“Anything is a blessing which makes us pray.”
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
“Christ life unfolds, in part, as we learn to appreciate the gifts He has given us. How easy it is to blame others for our unhappiness, but we are only unhappy when something other than Christ has become our life.”
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
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“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
Question To Ponder: Do you thank your church leaders for their service? We’ve all been helped to grow in the faith, whether by a Pastor, a teacher or a mentor. It’s part of God’s plan that we are trained up by others, imperfect though they may be, and that we encourage them along the way.
“…be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.“
Early in my Christian walk, my prayer life was a bit self-centered. Most of the time I lifted up items about my needs, my concerns and my dreams. That was a great habit to cultivate, but my prayer life was unbalanced until I started reaching beyond myself. The more I included other people as I called on God, the richer my prayer time became. Now I look for how He is working not just in my life, but in the lives of my Christian family, near and far, and I feel a deeper connection with them.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
Standing against fear is part of living a Godly life. Think of it: the enemy tries every day to knock us off the narrow path, and fear is one of his favorite tools. We have a sure defense, though. And what a relief to know it isn’t us! Our job is two-fold: to call upon the Lord, and to trust He will respond.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I got the message early in childhood that it was up to me to make my life go the way I wanted. That seemed true both in terms of success, and in battling any perceived injustice done to me. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to avenge myself and prove myself right. When I was young I didn’t know any better, but thankfully now I’ve learned better. God wants to take care of everything – He’s just waiting for me to get out of the way!