Monday, May 23, 2011

The Secret To A Blessed Life Is A Simple Thing

Here it is Monday morning and I wonder how much we remember from Sunday. It was probably excellent worship at your church; so good you felt the move of the Holy Spirit. With such great worship your heart was probably open to receive the Word that was preached. You probably felt moved, challenged, maybe even convicted. Most likely you came away with new determination to live a better life for Christ. Maybe you thought you would do more, be more or at least be better at what you do for Jesus. Then Monday hit and much of it was lost as you became immersed in "reality".

Unfortunately many of us have the mirror experience that James wrote of:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:22-24)

Most of us do not want to consider that these words apply to us but they do. Most of us know exactly what we are suppose to do all the time for every situation but in the heat of the moment it is like we forget. Maybe it's a panic thing, I don't know, but I do know that we become mere listeners, students who never put what they learn into practice. Of some of us it can be said, "ever learning but never applying". Apostle Paul described the worse case scenario to Timothy:

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. (2 Timothy 3:6-7)

This is not what we want to be but often we end up feeling this way because we treat our relationship with Jesus as a religious thing. Sunday we feel great and all is well with the world but Monday morning is a completely different world because we failed to bring the Sunday relationship with us. James continued:

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25) 

Look at these words: "looks intently", "continues to do this", "not forgetting", "doing it", "will be blessed". There is no secret to the blessings of the Lord or of being blessed by God: obedience. Jesus said to stay in him so he could stay in us. The secret for the blessing, the doing, the being is to increase your relationship, your fellowship with Jesus Christ. On Monday morning you should be yearning, desiring, longing to be with Jesus, not setting him aside while you get on with your life.

The secret to a blessed life is both simple and complicated, easy and hard. It is both simple and easy because it is all relational. It is based on a strong, vibrant, growing, intense relationship with Jesus Christ. It requires taking delight in studying the Word every day and putting it into practice. It requires an attitude of worship all day long. It requires the discipline of prayer; intense, secluded moments as well as ceaseless praying in the moment as things are happening. It requires that we have the understanding that Jesus is the greatest relationship in our life and the possession of the single desire to honour and intensify this relationship. It is not a weekly activity but a moment by moment reality. It requires discipline.

The thing that makes a blessed life easy is also what makes it hard. A relationship such as this takes effort to maintain; it requires discipline. To be honest, this flesh of ours is pretty lazy. Our spirit may be willing but the battle remains with our flesh. The more you know Jesus the easier it should be because his love is what compels us. Still, we need to learn that our problems do not shove Jesus aside, busyness does not overwhelm us because we allow Jesus to interweave himself into everything in our life. Jesus is not something we do when we find the time; he is part of us and part of everything we do and experience. Jesus isn't shoved aside by our problems because he is involved with our problems. We talk them over with him, asking for his wisdom, expecting his direction and accepting his strength to carry through. Do not make the mistake of thinking it just happens; it requires discipline from you.

You know I am talking to you and you know that I am speaking the truth. The worse moments of your life have been when you have been the most distant from Jesus. Those times when you were almost destroyed, overwhelmed, broken are when you were giving no effort in your relationship with him. Those times when you failed to resist temptation is when Jesus was less of a priority for you. Knowing that this is the problem, the solution becomes obvious. Jesus has to become more to you and you have to become less.

Remembering what you learned yesterday and putting it into practice follows easily after you take care of the "being" with Jesus. Facing Monday morning is a thing of joy when you have a relationship with Jesus that keeps him involved in everything. The blessings of good health, joy, peace, happiness, love, contentment flow out of your constant abiding in Jesus, where you remain in him and he remains in you. Fill your mind with his promises and your heart with his love and your life will start to resemble the blessed life you are supposed to have. Remove yourself from Jesus, separate your "reality" from him and all the blessings stop flowing and you end up facing life alone. Learn to abide in Christ; learn it today and be amazed at the transformation of your mood, your circumstances and your attitude toward your day and your life!

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