Who's life about? As a believer that seems like an easy question.
The Sunday School, right, correct, and only fully true answer is Jesus.
You ask me the above question any time and Jesus is the only answer I'll ever give you.
Yet, I don't always live that correct answer.
To be honest, today has been one of those days, a day where I've allowed myself to become discouraged and frustrated. Why? Simple answer-I got my eyes off Christ and onto myself.
We live in a world that is so self-centered. Consider these well-known words, Face
tube, and Self
Our society is saturated with three people, me
. Look at social media, video channels, profile pictures, advertisements, movies, books and music. Our culture screams one message, "It's all about you!"
And sadly, many of us have subtly believed that lie.
When's the last time you've caught yourself saying or thinking something like this, "If only I had that kind of ministry," "I wish I accomplished that," "Why is God blessing that person in that way and not me?" "100,000 views! Why hasn't that happened to me? I'm serving the Lord faithfully!" "I wish I had fill in the blanks."
Our culture integrated with man's sinful nature has so ingrained in our hearts and minds that life is all about us, that we have a hard time seeing anyone succeed, unless it is ourselves. We covet so many things, yet truly don't desire them. For instance, I know of some awesome ministries out there, yet if I really had the opportunity to trade theirs with mine, I wouldn't. I know that God has placed me right where I need to be. So why does my heart still covet their ministry at times?!
It comes down to a heart attitude.
Centered deep in the human heart is a desire for meaning and purpose. We all want our lives to make an impact on this world. Yet, we so wrongly think that life is about us, that for our lives to have meaning we need to build awesome ministries, impact millions of lives and become a household name among Christians.
Yet we forget, life isn't about us. The name of Nathaniel Mervar is not going to save or empower anyone to live their life sold-out for Jesus. So why do I become so consumed at times to make my name known?
It comes down to the daily battle of the flesh. I have the ability to resist temptation as a believer but it certainly does not mean I am immune to falling into it.
There is a key word in the above sentence, ability. I have the ability to resist temptation by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet that ability comes from His power, not mine. It is when I rely on my own strength that I get caught up in the iTrap.
So how does one live a life that is truly focused on Christ and not oneself in the daily battles one faces as a believer? How do we truly live the reality that life is all about Jesus?
Below are six points that the Lord has recently impressed on my heart concerning the above question.
- Start your day with Christ. Seriously, do so! We talk about this as believers all the time, yet I think if many of us are honest we don't do this. I'm not talking about a two-minute devotion and a 30 second prayer before you get out of bed, I am talking about a serious time of communing with the Lord. No, it doesn't have to be three hours long, but I think we'd be amazed the impact it would have on our day if we were willing to surrender the first thirty minutes or so of our morning to serious prayer and Bible study. (Psalm 5:3, Psalm 90:14)
- Continue with Christ throughout the day. I tend to be so guilty especially on this count. There is many a time that I start the day off right only to reach the end and realize I didn't spend much time with my Lord the rest of the day. Meditate on the Word throughout the day, keep a running conversation with God in prayer, pause for serious Bible study and prayer. It has often been said to treat the Word like food, after all it is the spiritual food for our soul! If you are anything like me, you eat three meals a day and snacks all throughout. A hearty breakfast is great, but that doesn't negate the necessity of lunch and dinner. (Joshua 1:8)
- When you feel your heart beginning to stray, cry out instantly to the Lord. I've discovered too often in my life that when I feel like I am starting to go off course during the day I do fight back, but in my own strength. The moment I feel focus beginning to wane, prayer should instantly be resorted to and memorized verses should be recalled. Feeling burdened? Take it to the Lord in prayer! Don't battle against it for several hours in your own strength and then crumple before the Lord in prayer as a last resort.
- Be held accountable by fellow believers. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. God created us to need one another. (Proverbs 27:17, Hebrews 10:24-25) Never, ever, ever in your arrogance assume that you can go solo or that you are going solo because there is no one of your caliber to hold you accountable. Dear friends, put yourself in this situation and you will fall! I can testify to this. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
- You're in a war, act like it! Do we expect an easy, trial free life? Have we not read the Scriptures that tell us tribulations, troubles and trials are guaranteed to the believer? Do we expect to walk out in a world as ambassadors of light in the darkness and for the enemy to sit still? Of course not! So prepare to be attacked! The armor of God was given for a reason! (James 1:2, John 16:33, Ephesians 6:10-18)
- Ultimately, abide in Christ. I can't lose my self-centered focus unless I am truly abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, you and I can do nothing. (John 15:5) Truly submitting to Christ's transforming power in my daily life is the only way true, lasting change will be accomplished. The above five points are great, but utterly worthless without the proper heart attitude. Do you and I truly admit our desperate need for the Savior's power or are we trying to accomplish this Christ-centered life in a self-powered initiative? The Christ-centered life comes only from a life submitted to Christ. (James 4:1-10)
So I return to my original question, "Who's life about?"
May we truly be consumed by that reality! May our lives brightly reflect that truth, not in our own power but in the power of the Holy Spirit!