Saturday, September 3, 2011

Distracted From Our Purpose and Greatness

The Christian life is not complicated but it is full of too many distractions. Seriously, if we can get over ourselves we would find life to be a lot less full of drama. We continue to forget, every day, that we are not here for ourselves. We are in service to our Lord Jesus Christ and he has given us a mission that is clear and straight forward. If we love him as we say we do then it would be the desire of our heart. The psalmist of Psalm 89 found the words that should describe this desire:

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
   with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
   that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
(Psalm 89:1-2)

It should be a natural thing for us to want to tell of God's great love and the difference it has made to us. To brag of his faithfulness in keeping his promises should be as automatic as breathing. However, we are hoarders and as life goes on we pick up things that fill our life with clutter, things that take away from us instead of add to our lives. I am talking emotions as well as possessions along with some relationships.

Take an inventory of your life. Ask yourself how full it is. Make a couple of lists if you need to. Make one list of all the things and activities that are a drain on you. These are the things that you are busy with but add no value to you or anyone else. Too much TV? Too much video games? Too much Internet? The thing I hear so often is "I wish I had more time" but there is plenty of time, we are just poor managers of it. This is time that we could spend studying the Word, praying, worshiping, having people over to share with, painting or writing to his glory. It is amazing what we are able to do in a day when we start prioritizing our activities so kingdom things came first instead of last.

Then there are the emotional things that I have written about over the last few days, the stuff that arises from unforgiveness and become a major distraction to us. Let's face it, if we really loved Jesus and understood his love for us, we would not be able to hold on to unforgiveness. We may go to church, attend Bible Study, sing beautiful songs of deliverance and worship, but without love it is all useless. Where unforgiveness exists, love does not. The sort of emotions that arise from unforgiveness, such as anger and bitterness, are useless and negative emotions that rob us of our life. They slowly rob us of years of joy, peace and usefulness. These are very selfish emotions. I know that seems cruel to say but they keep your eyes focused on yourself instead of on Jesus and that never ends well.

Now fill out the second part of your list. These are all the things that add to your life, that allow you to demonstrate the love of Jesus to others. These are often the things you do for others and that you do to improve your relationship with God. This is going to require some honesty on your part. Is it really necessary to spend 4 hours or more a day reading through FaceBook, Twitter and Tumblr to "minister" to people? Is gossiping with your neighbour really a matter of passing on prayer requests? Is praying about God exacting revenge on that person who hurt you years ago really the heart of love he desires you to possess? So be honest with this list and you will probably find it a fraction of the first one. Too many distractions from God's love and our purpose.

You need to ask yourself if your life has purpose or is it being wasted? Jesus has given us purpose, to receive and experience the Father's love and to tell others about it. We are to grow and mature so that we can become teachers in this area of love so we can train others in it. It means making the tough decisions in the storms; decisions to love our enemies. Forgiving is a good indication of maturity but loving our enemies even more so. When we begin setting aside our interests for the sake of other people we knowing we are growing. When our great desire becomes demonstrating God's love to others then we are starting to walk in the greatness we have been called to.

We were re-created through a sacrificial love and it is living such a love that we discover how simple life really is. It's the distractions we need to deal with so nothing interferes with who we are and who we are becoming. Our purpose is straightforward but it does mean putting our interests, our distractions, even our wants on the altar of our heart. When we allow the Spirit to free us up from these things that clutter our lives it is amazing how easy it is to breathe again. We feel lighter and happier. We actually look forward to living every day and it is amazing how easy it becomes to love others and to talk about Jesus. It is our purpose.

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