- Thu Mar 15, 2018
- 3 comments
The headline might suggest this article is about romance, holding hands, walks on the beach or even the “little blue pill.” But it’s not. No, this may be the least sexy article we have ever done on love and relationships, definitely not the warmest, and, if you take it to heart, it will cost you. How’s that for advertising?
In Gary Chapman’s famous classic “The Five Love Languages,” we learn about meaningful ways we love others, including words of affirmation, touch (men’s favorite by far), spending quality time, acts of service and giving gifts. And while these are important, there’s a type of love Jesus models that gives the truest accounting of love we all look for, we all want and we all need to learn to give daily. But it doesn’t get the headlines.
Unchallengeable, bottom line love requires sacrifice. The greatest love we can give is sacrificial love or, more practically, when we say “no” to ourselves in order to say “yes” to discomfort for the benefit of another. It’s that simple, that hard, and that profound to the other person. Jesus prophetically explained love’s bottom line for us for all in John 15:13 when said:
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
In other words, sacrificial love takes all mystery and guesswork out of play and replaces it with a rock solid message: I am willing to set my own comfort and well-being aside to secure your well being and comfort. That’s not to suggest, we go out and look to be a heart-transplant donor. Instead, we look for ways in our daily relationships where God would call us to sacrifice what we want (feelings), and love someone else sacrificially (faith).
Before Jesus endured horrendous torture and was crucified, he revealed a human nature desiring to live and avoid the painful consequences of God’s plan. He even asked God if there was a “PLAN B.” But instead choosing emotionally he sacrificially chose God’s will. In the greatest love moment of all time and eternity he chose faith over feelings.
Here at Every Man Ministries we've been thinking about what really has our attention? Here’s a quick test to see, and be honest with yourself:
Rank the following topics in order of importance of what has your attention (1 being highest, 10 is lowest):
As you can see, there are a lot of things competing for our attention, and perhaps you vary the rankings on a daily basis. After all, life is full of surprises. If your life’s focus had a target, and each concentric circle represents an area or topic you focus on, what’s in the bulls-eye? Here’s one “SPOT” to think about:
There’s an “F” after the “SHI” and before the “T” and, yes, I did it on purpose. I am exchanging the secular phrase for a sacred principle, the silly for the serious, and if I pressed your buttons then mission accomplished. What remains are the two words every believer must consider if they claim to be a follower of Jesus – holy and shift. See for yourself.
“If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NCV
That’s some major shift going down. Oops did it again. Key word here? Everything. God says he wants all of you versus parts of you. Get that. Life with God requires change in God if the relationship is working the way he designed. God himself is telling me in strong, simple terms that when he is at the center of my life I don’t get to pick and choose my changes of life and lifestyle. It’s positional.
“Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 NIV
By contrast, if we do call him “Lord, Lord” we will be moving, exchanging, changing, or adjusting our ways for God’s ways on a regular basis. Why? Because when you are connected to Christ shift happens (of the holy sort). The red letters of Jesus in your Bible clearly state one unequivocal fact: change is ground zero of the spiritual life. We dispute this reality of spiritual life internally because personal change is often emotionally uncomfortable for us and requires new character we don’t presently have. Or we flat out disagree with God because we don’t want to give up that attitude or behavior. The result is self styled Christianity, patterned around our comforts, where we live out of spiritual and non-spiritual boxes as the context suits us. Both approaches fall short and neither passes muster with God.
It’s inevitable and universal, as soon as Christmas winds down and December 31 appears on our phones, we all face a new year with new opportunities. Many are resolving to lose weight or gain greater income or set some other goal, typically requiring will power and time management skills -- both of which often fade within a few weeks.
If God were writing our resolutions, what do you think He would come up with?
I think God wants us to make “time for a change.”
Throughout the Bible, we see that God is a God of change. He’s the ultimate game-changer, a change-agent that changes things, people, hearts and minds.
But it requires a slight, but powerful, paradigm shift of the rudders steering our energies and expressions. We’re all given the same amount of time, and as hard as we try, our calendars often have more control over our schedules and lives than we realize. We get caught trying to do more within our allotted days, leading us to fatigue and frustration when we can’t check off the items on our list.
God doesn’t have the same time management problem we do. He’s “omni-everything.” He is The Great I am, who was and is and is to come. He’s the Alpha and Omega. What really matters if we look through His lens that’s not restricted to a clock? How should we use our time in His mind? What does God consider effective use of our time?
From His vantage point, life is more of a question about priority and perspective, not time -- a life of meaning, not efficiency.
The Bible says our lifespan is like a “vapor” that vanishes quickly.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” -- James 4:13-14
After reading that, you can feel that God is way more concerned about meaning rather than urgency or efficiency. He wants us to do the meaningful things now, because we may not have time tomorrow.
Instead of making a list of resolutions and trying to cram more into your day, consider making just one. Make time for a change. Here are a few suggestions:
- Mon Nov 27, 2017
- 2 comments
These days, I think the song “Jingle Bells” might start like this:
“Dashing through the snow with a high-def touchscreen display, all the fields we go, tweeting and texting all the way. Bells on smartphones ring, making bandwidth bright, what fun it is to stare and cling to a virtual world tonight...”
Silver bells, tinsel and mistletoe are being replaced with smartphones, tablets, computers and social media. Our youth are catching on to the technology-driven era at younger and younger ages. They pay more attention to screens than people. In fact, one toy maker even rolled out a bouncy seat for infants with a built-in iPad holder. My co-worker told me his 2-year-old daughter toddled up to the TV to try and swipe it like an iPad. Another father in my office said his 18-month daughter knows how to unlock and navigate his smartphone.
A new study, conducted by the Common Sense Media group, reported 72% of children ages 8 and younger have used a mobile device with 17% using the device daily.
When Jesus said to “Let the children come to me,” I doubt he intended to give a slideshow from a mobile device with wi-fi.
Technology itself is not dangerous, and can be an important tool for our children’s education. But, if we allow technology to get in between our parenting, then there will be problems.