Working out our salvation

In this life, there are certain things that are universal and certain.

Some have said that the only things that are certain are death and taxes.

I happen to believe I can add a few more things to that list.

I believe it is universal that people desire to be heard, loved and valued. Further, I believe that people around the world desire to know that their life is not only significant but also making a difference in the world (or at least making a difference in the small corner of the world we spend our lives in). I understand that we may get into routines and habits where we don’t necessarily question why we do certain things or what impact we may be having on others but at some point, I would put forth that it is a universal practice to ask “why?” and “what does it matter?” Hopefully, as we ask these questions we will begin our quest not only for significance (and the outcome of life) but also purpose (and why/how we came to be here in the first place).

The truth is that Yahweh, God Almighty, the Creator, in love created us and He invites us to accept His purposes and plans for us. In the Bible, He tells us through Paul’s words that we need to “work out (our) salvation” (Philippians 2:12). I take this to mean (at least on some level) that we are to ask the deep questions of why we are doing certain things and whether what we are doing really matters (for now and especially for eternity). I believe that working out our salvation means accepting God’s stated purposes for our existence (love) and God’s stated plans for our future (abiding in love). I would put forth to you that life is too short and eternity is too long to spend much time worrying about what “he/she said” or what “he/she did” and instead we need to focus on questions such as

  • “God, am I living in Your love?”
  • “God, am I living out Your love?”
  • “God, am I living in a way pleasing to you?”
  • “God, what are you teaching me through this?”
  • “God, what should I say/do in order to communicate your love to this person?”

Please, recognize that it’s hard enough and time-consuming enough to work out our own salvation with the Lord, we really don’t have the time or energy (or even a responsibility) to figure out whether the people around us are doing it the way we would or the way we think they should.

By the way, the last part of the phrase in the Bible is to “work out (our) salvation with fear and trembling”. I truly believe that means that we come humbly to the Lord and to any situation asking the Lord to help us and allowing Him to live through us. If we are in awe and wonder and amazement and fear and consecrated surrender before God, I know He will help us to live holy lives unto the Lord.

May God help you to know this day what He is teaching you and please be reassured that as you fully trust and obey Him in all things your life will have great meaning and tremendous impact and the Lord will use your faith and obedience to fulfill His plans for you!

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The Need to be Still

In my last post I spoke about the need to be productive. Now I would like to briefly consider our deeper need to be still.

It’s not that we don’t have a calling and purpose in this life that ought to be diligently and intentionally pursued, but rather that being still is the greatest thing we can “do” in this life to prepare us for life and eternity and to empower us to make our lives count for something.

When we are constantly busy and working, we will find ourselves continuously drawing from our own strength, our own wisdom, our own experiences and therefore our own limitations. To draw from ourselves as the source of what we need is a frustrating and ultimately fruitless prospect. We are limited at our best; at our worst we are corrupted, double minded and selfish; neither our best or our worst is  the well we ought to be drawing from for inspiration, fulfillment and empowerment. This is where being still comes into play. Continue reading

The Need to Be Productive

It is the beginning of a new year.

As such we are looking back to see what last year held for us and look ahead to see what is yet to come.

In our review of history and in our hopes and dreams for the future, we realize that we analyze the importance of things from our current perspective and we attempt to determine what is the best course of action that we can take moving forward.

One thing that I have noticed in my own personal journey is that hard-wired into me is the need to be productive. I have to create, produce, accomplish, labor etc. I believe this comes from God’s initial instructions to humanity the “tend the earth”. Solomon also recorded that it is a gift from God to do the work of our hands.

Why is it that we need to be productive? One reason is because laziness and slothfulness create a breeding ground for all manner of other destructive behaviors. Another reason though is because our productivity has to do with our purpose in life. When we are accomplishing nothing, we may at times excuse it and say it really doesn’t matter but down deep inside we know that God Himself has given us a calling, created us for a purpose and is leading us to a particular mission for our remaining days on this earth. Furthermore, this inner drive to be productive also comes from a God-given urge to make our lives count for something in the midst of simply not knowing how many days we have left.

If you knew you only had so many days left, wouldn’t you seek to make those remaining days count? I know I would. Perhaps more diligently, intentionally and more proactively than ever. Not all actions and behaviors are equally important when we have a finite number of days left on this earth. The fact that we don’t know how many days remain should actually serve as an impetus and motivator in our lives to be more attentive to that which matters most. 

And so while you are examining last year and looking ahead to the year to come, please ask yourself a few questions to help you with your purpose and your productivity:

  • For what purpose what I created? Why am I here?
  • What is God asking me to do with my time here?
  • What should I spend my time, energy, talents and resources on?
  • Is my life producing anything?
  • Is it really for God’s glory or for my own?
  • What would God have me to produce with my life and the time I have left on this earth?

I want my life to count for something. I believe God has given me a particular sense of direction for how I ought to live my life and what mission I am to be working towards. Now I need to make sure that I am faithfully heeding His calling, stewarding that which He has entrusted to me and making my life count for His glory and for drawing others into His loving embrace of amazing grace.What about you?

 

 

Making or Tending

“What do you have that you did not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

Perhaps one of the most difficult things in this life is “making” something of our lives.

You and I both desire to make our lives count for something.

We want our lives to have purpose and meaning and so we set out to:

  • Make a name for ourselves
  • Prove our worth
  • Create something both impactful and lasting

And yet, I wonder if we are really on the wrong track here.  Continue reading

A Happy Life

keep-calm-and-live-a-simple-happy-lifeWhat is a happy life? So much of our time and energies seemed to be consumed with pursuing happiness and a good life. I guess it might be important to know what it is we are running after so diligently.

I believe that a happy life is more than merely a lack of frustration or angst and certainly more than the presence of fortuitous events and emotional calm. These may indeed be facets of a happy life but I believe  Continue reading