Christians ought to be the most positive people on the planet. In fact, a dose of positivity would probably make our faith far more contagious. And we have great reason to be so positive.
It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation!
– 1 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
First, we’ve been forgiven, so we ought to positively view every other person in the human race as a potential recipient of the same, rather than writing anyone off as too far gone. And second, we serve a risen and returning Savior!
Our Leader came back from the dead and is coming to right all wrongs and rule the universe with peace forever… so be a little more positive today.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
– Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
A priority is literally something that comes first. We speak of “getting our priorities straight” but we should really focus on getting our one single priority in focus. And for a child of God, that one priority is the kingdom of Jesus.
Put His rule and reign first and every other area of your life becomes manageable in His power. Let anything else be first and no area of your life can be completely healthy. It’s the ultimate stress reliever. When I’m walking with Jesus as the Leader of my life, I know that everything is ultimately going to align. And what doesn’t fit probably doesn’t belong anyway.
It is entirely possible to live a life that glorifies the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we believe that it is impossible then we have short-circuited our own objective for living. But we need to understand the order of things.
Our typical understanding of the Christian life is that if I live or perform well enough, then Jesus will be glorified. In other words, we think we can behave our way into maturity. But the Bible approaches things in the opposite order. Just listen to the words of the apostle Paul to the church at Thessalonica…
Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.
– 2 Thessalonians 1:12 (NLT)
It is Grace that modifies our behavior. We are usually inclined to get that backwards. So we try. We try harder. We fail. We beat ourselves up. And we find ourselves desperately in need of grace.
The truth is, behaving in a way that honors Jesus starts with living under grace. And in the freedom of the forgiveness that I find in Christ, I can live a life that brings him glory. It’s all made possible by grace.
The orphan Oliver Twist once said of his gruel, “Please sir, I want some more.” The request was audacious and offensive. He was swiftly caught and punished.
Most of us feel that we’re like Oliver. We’re the poor orphan begging God for a request, hoping He won’t blow up at us. But nothing could be further from the truth. Listen to the words of James,
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
– James 1:5 (NLT)
Glorify His generosity by asking Him to supply all your needs. He actually delights in being trusted with such requests. Besides, if you’re a believer in Jesus, you’re no longer an orphan. You’re an adopted prince, so go boldly before the throne today and make your requests known!
Exactly how much money is “enough?” One famous old tycoon said, “one more dollar.” One of the basic truths of the Christian life is that we will never have enoughuntil we find our satisfaction in Jesus Christ, the Living Water.
The Bible gives us a fresh perspective on things to lead us to contentment…
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
– 1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)
First, we need to see godliness AS wealth rather than material things. For some reason, as Americans, we have the mistaken notion that it is somehow “mission work” to help the rest of the world live like Americans. But there are people who live in huts with tin roofs who are far more deeply satisfied in Christ than many Americans with 3.5 flat screen televisions.
Second, we need to see THINGS as TEMPORARY.Someone taught me a long time ago to say, “It’s all going to burn up someday anyway.” Why make material things the goal of your life when everything you pursue will someday go away? You can’t take material wealth to heaven with you.
Third, we need to see what we currently have as enough. This doesn’t mean you won’t go through times of financial need. It simply means that adding more material things to my current collection won’t actually satisfy my soul anymore than it already is. As the magical Mary Poppins said, “Enough is as good as a feast.”
So value spiritual things over material, see every material thing as temporary, and realize that you probably have enough things anyway. At the end of the day, Jesus is enough. And only Jesus truly satisfies.
I plan on eating better based on what I’m learning from reading The Daniel Plan. I also want to exercise and run. Those are probably typical. I also want to read through the Bible, pray more, lead better, and date my wife like crazy, blog (almost) daily to help ministry leaders, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
But… I’m reading a really good book right now called The ONE Thing. The authors point out that there is no such thing as having right “priorities” because the word priority was never meant to be plural. It comes from an old French word that means the state of being first. And if there’s one thing that we know, it’s that there can only be one first.
So, if I could live my life for just ONE thing that would help me to discover rhythm in every other area and to develop the disciplines/habits/graces/practices that lead to a well-ordered life that brings glory to my Creator, it would be…
I just want to put Jesus first. Over-simplified? I hope so. But I have a hunch that if I live in step with Jesus, then the Holy Spirit will empower me to be what He wants me to be for the people around me who need me.
When you trust in Jesus, He changes everything. And the relationship He has with us is dynamic so that He continually changes us into His image and chips away at the rough edges of who we are. Today, He wants to do something absolutely scandalous in you – He wants to let your past go and give you a fresh start.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
So take advantage. Delight in His grace. Receive the gift of a totally new you. Simply pray, “God, make me new today. In Christ, renew me. I trust You.”
Now, live the new life God wants for you to the full!