Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Living Outside Ourselves

"Stop asking God to bless what you're doing. Get involved in what God is doing – because it's already blessed." - Rock legend Bono

God will not bless a self-absorbed life style. More than that, He has set up this world so that a self-focused lifestyle never satisfies. It's not that God doesn't care about our temporary and worldly projects. He absolutely does. It's simply that He loves us too much to allow those things to become the central focus of our lives because He's designed us for eternity.

The Bible describes what happens when our priorities get mixed up.

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." Haggai 1:5-6

God says, "Give careful thought to your ways." This challenge reminds me of an expression I use a lot: "Play the movie." In other words, let's look at our priorities – the way we spend our time, energy, and resources – and ask these questions:

  • How does this DVD end?
  • If I keep going like this at this rate, all this work with this little return, where will I be?
  • Five years from now?
  • Ten years from now?
  • Twenty years from now?
  • How about 100 years from now?
  • And are these the things that I want to define my life?
  • How will I feel about my accomplishments from Heaven's balcony?

God asks each of us to think specifically about what kind of return we are getting on our self-absorbed focus. Is it paying off? All our worry, our concerns, what value do we get? Put it on a spread sheet. Make a profit-loss statement. How are we doing?

And then God calls us to a better way.

Seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33

God honors the Kingdom-centered life. It is the God-focused lifestyle that satisfies. For the next several weeks I will be challenging us all to Live Outside Ourselves as we get involved in what God is already blessing. Who can tell what could happen in a month?


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