Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Where Does the Time Go?
As each new year approaches I am reminded that time slows down for no one. Our days on earth are so very valuable, not only to our individual lives, but for eternity itself. God placed each one of us here in this season for a particular reason. In order to achieve true fulfillment in life, we need to discover our purpose, develop our giftedness and delight to do God's perfect will. Easier said than done, but it all boils down to this: every day is an opportunity to know Him more and for Him to make Himself known through you.
No amount of effort can change a single thing in the past, but your future awaits the decisions you will make in response to the revelation of His will, even in the face of contrary circumstances that often demand your attention. Forgive my dry humor, but today truly is the first day of the rest of your life! If you could see your life from God's perspective, you would know the absolute importance of each day, not only for your sake but for those around you. As James 4:14 puts it, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." Compared to eternity, 80 years is a drop in a bucket.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and reverse a number of decisions I've made over the years. And if I was a betting man, I would put money on the premonition that I am not alone on this one! If you knew back then what you know right now, what would you have done differently? Probably a whole lot, right? Although living in the land of regret won't do you any good, accessing the wisdom of God based on your past mistakes is invaluable to making better decisions in the future. They say "hindsight is 20/20" but unfortunately not everyone learns from past mistakes, even when they are fully aware of them. Truthfully, our own stubbornness leads us to repeat dysfunctional patterns because we tend to trust in our wisdom more than His.
Let me encourage you to start this year with a bulldog determination to make the most of each day. As the Israelites of old made a point to gather manna each day, make it your goal to prioritize what is really important in your life: hearing and responding to the voice of God. Without a revelation of His will in your life, you are left wondering what your purpose is and end up wandering from that purpose. Without a clear sense of direction, the winds of circumstances will dictate the course of your life. You don't have to be a victim of circumstance. You can take charge of your life by surrendering it to Him today! A paradox worth living for, if you ask me.
You might be saying to yourself right now: "But I have surrendered my life to Him and I still feel helpesss in my situation." Maybe you're not sure what your purpose is or maybe you do but don't know how to go about fulfilling it. If that's you, understand that you're not alone. Many believers today put on their Sunday suits and smiles to present the image that everything is hunky-dory while their insides are crying out for something more. They are aware that something is missing, that they are somehow not living up to their potential.
I must say that I have been in this very position a number of times in my life, the last of which wasn't too long ago. Times of internal frustration with external circumstances are often the result of depending on our own wisdom instead of accessing His. When we become complacent in gathering daily manna in our lives, this is indicative of our tendency to "lean on our own understanding" instead of trusting our daily lives to the leading of His Spirit. We somehow think we know how to run our lives better than He does. Ludicrous, isn't it?
Surrendering your life to Christ should not be a one-time experience; it should be a continual process of acknowledging your need for Him more than your next breath. Jesus demonstrated this for us through His lifestyle of dependence on the voice of the Father and the empowerment of the Spirit. When we read about the miracles Jesus performed, it's easy to assume that they were done because He was God in the flesh. But Jesus never did anything supernatural until He received the empowerment of the Spirit. And even after the Spirit "descended like a dove upon Him" He didn't rush off to start His world-shaking ministry. He got alone with God for 40 days.
Jesus wasn't a first century version of the incredible hulk, half God and half man. He was 100% Son of God and 100% Son of man. As the Son of God He was the Living Word and the Bread from heaven, but as the Son of man he depended on the voice of the Father for identity, instruction and direction. Jesus refused to teach anything that He didn't first hear His Father say. (John 7:16) And he refused to do anything that He didn't first see His Father do. (John 5:19) He didn't just go about randomly teaching people what He decided from day to day and healing people when He was in a good mood.
...Be sure to catch Part II of this series in a few days.
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