"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm37:4)
The Value of Practical Wisdom
When People hear my name do they think of God?
“A good name is better than precious ointment. And the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1, NKJ)
It is so important to God for us to have a good name. The “aroma of my character” reflects on the name of Jesus. Upon your death you will be remembered for what you have done. *Death is always a reminder of God’s control.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
Seeds of discouragement can’t take root in a grateful heart. One of the keys to living a good life is to have gratitude. Gratitude is a muscle we must feed, condition, and exercise frequently. We honor God by choosing to focus on the good in every situation, opportunity, relationship, or pursuit. Every obstacle that stands in our way can be seen in a positive light if we CHOOSE to use it for the glory of God. Ultimately it’s a matter of of perspective and how we choose to see it.
"Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
Before I gave my life to Christ I would often live overly cautious and struggle embracing uncertainty. I would draw strength from feeling a sense of control while determining the outcomes. Now there are many problems with this thinking but I will start with the most obvious. I was missing the mark on my full destiny God had for me because I was waiting for absolute certainty before I could step out and conquer my fears.
While it is true that we can never earn our salvation, true faith will always result in a changed life & good works. True Faith involves a commitment of your WHOLE self to God. Take this scripture into mind;
18 But Someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18, NKJ)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The source of so much of our anxiety, fear, doubt, and anger is the result of leaning on our own understanding. It’s easy for me to give God 60%, 70%, or even 80% of my trust but when embracing uncertain paths ahead that last 20% is always difficult to let go of. To be honest that last bit I hold onto is typically spent anticipating problems, planning for every obstacle ahead, and striving for control. It’s this pattern of thinking that holds us back from wholeheartedly giving ourselves to the Lord and experiencing life at it’s fullest.
God wants us to offer ourselves as daily sacrifices. Each day offering our worldly desires and sinful nature. For me I would say pride, and unforgiveness would be offered up first, daily!
We must be driven by God's mercy, and trust & be guided by his word & truth. Our hearts want to believe lies, so it's crucial we are saturated in God's word. We were given a gift when we were still sinners, when Jesus lived the sinless life and died for us. He offered up the ultimate sacrifice for us when we didn't deserve it.
My story, like every human story, is at least in part the struggle between faith and fear. Fear will never go away. We tend to seek a world of comfort. We try to construct manageable lives with some real security and predictability to maintain the illusion that we are in control. Trust and fear battle for the human heart. Eventually one or the other will win. Winning the Olympic Trials was a chance of lifetime, and it was not to be taken lightly. I knew in my heart that God was calling me far beyond my spiritual comfort zone. And for me to truly follow Jesus I had to deny Comfort as the ultimate value for my life. Fear and growth go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly, it’s a package deal.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to save myself. In essence, I was trying to earn my own salvation by filling my heart with various things. Things that I thought would satisfy my hunger for joy, purpose and significance. Time after time, I turned my back on God, blamed him for my present injustices, and just keep searching for something else that would serve my needs. No matter how hard I pushed God away, he kept coming back. He kept injecting my life with people who lived in the light, people who reached out to me time after time, and stayed true to God’s works. I kept resisting, but He kept pulling me in.
There are so many things out there and all around us that rob our joy and steal our dreams away. I don’t want to be dramatic but we are under attack by our fears every day. They kill our dreams, take away our happiness, and would do anything to destroy our lives if we gave in enough. Until this past summer, I took on those “attacks” with my own will, grit, and perseverance. In my eyes I was becoming pretty successful and pretty significant. I started thinking my success could determine my happiness and be a catalyst to the good life.
Each time I ponder the depths of my mental toughness, I like to imagine what it would be like to swim across an entire ocean. After fully exerting my physical capabilities, and maintaining my composure throughout calm and choppy seas, there would be an inevitable juncture where I would reach my breaking point and succumb to the swirling tides beneath me.