You’ve probably experienced pleasures in life that satisfy… at least for a short time. You’ve eaten, drank, smoked, saw and touched. But, like me, I’m sure you’ve found that your natural senses have never truly fulfilled you. Only supernatural and eternal pleasures can do that. Why should we give our hearts to someone or some thing that will last for a mere 70 years? It’s a drop of water in the ocean of time. Jesus advised us, as the song says, to build your hopes on things eternal. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
If you’re like most people, you want to be successful. But what is true success? And what price are we willing to pay to get it? With the latest technological advances, we have no excuse for not being continually on call anywhere in the universe. We are tempted to do more, in less time, with less money and that guarantees one thing: we will wake up and go to bed exhausted. Chuck Swindoll says, “The only trouble with success is that the formula for achieving it is the same as the formula for a nervous breakdown.”We have more choices than ever before, but less time to choose. Progress has been defined as “working hard to make things as good as they used to be.”So what should we pursue in our short lives. The Bible’s clear: “Get wisdom .And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7, NKJV)
Our Only Offensive Weapon
The fact that Jesus used Scripture to fight the devil’s temptations should provide a clear strategy for each of us every day. The Bible says, “…the sword of the Spirit…is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, NKJV) The Bible is our only offensive weapon, assuring us that we have no hope of fighting temptation outside of trusting in God’s Word. The way to survive and even thrive on this planet is to feed on the Word of God. Jesus promised, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by
no means pass away.”(Matthew 24:35, NKJV) Yes, there are many voices clamoring for our attention, but only God’s words will last forever. Be careful to not feed on and trust in words that last a mere 70 years, for eventually you will be greatly disappointed.
All of us are looking for something you would think wouldn’t be that hard to find. But it is! It’s called REST! The Bible says, “…there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.” (Hebrews 4:9-10, NLT) Rest! It comes from only one source—God. And He longs to give it to each of us. Rest is learning to silence your soul so completely; becoming so utterly still, so desperately quiet inside, that at last your eyes cease their obsession with self and are firmly fixed upon God. God wants to spend time and eternity with you…to teach you how to rest in Him. It’s why you were created. Rest in God!
There are many dangers in this world, but some are so treacherous they’re called, evil…evil! What could be so diabolical that God would call it evil, and yet so common all of us are infected with it at some point in our lives? The Book of Hebrews says, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12, ESV) WOW! That’s scary! Why would God call unbelief evil? Because God is a God of faith—the opposite of unbelief. He warns us to be careful, because an unbelieving heart will lead us far away from the God who is life. We have each been given a measure of eternal faith. It is most precious to God, and should be guarded at all cost.
Mix With Faith
There’s one thing we need to make sure we always mix with the Word of God. Without it, the Bible becomes just a bunch of empty words. Without it, our lives will never be transformed—we’ll never become who God created us to be. The Bible says, “…the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2, NKJV) WOW! One thing was missing: faith! Oh God, give me the faith to believe You when You speak. To trust that You say what You mean, and mean what You say. That I can stand upon Your Word and promises, no matter how difficult life becomes, because it’s the truth! Actually, it’s the only truth that will set me free.
Make a Memory
There was a young man who for years couldn’t breathe through one of his nostrils. Finally, he went to a doctor and found that a broken eraser had been stuck in his nose since he was a small child. It’s shocking how things that take place in childhood can affect our whole lives if they are ignored. The same is true in our emotional being as well. Prisons are filled with men who were abandoned or rejected by their fathers. One Christian counselor, who ministered to prisoners for 25 years, said he never met a prisoner who genuinely loved his dad. The majority of children in America have less than 10 minutes of significant and meaningful conversation with their parents each week. If you remove the mother, you can measure this statistic in seconds. Today, make a memory with your child!
There’s a tragic sequence in life called the “Disgust-Shame-Confession Cycle.” Many Christians get disgusted because of their seeming lack of commitment. When they can’t take the shame anymore, they rededicate themselves to the Lord. They then confess their inconsistency as sin. It’s a frustrating cycle: Disgust—Shame—Confession. It is absurd for me to believe that God could accept or approve of me more then He already does. He’s already at peak-approval…Not approving everything I do, but everything I am. He’s at peak-love, always loving me, and always will. My fixating on my own imperfection distracts me from me focusing on His perfection. The key to being successful in God is not working harder; it’s learning to rest in His love, grace, and acceptance. God wants us to spend eternity with Him far more than we do.
Character That Lasts Forever
Everyone wants to be successful, but success must be defined in light of eternity. Only our Creator God can determine what true success is. God’s goal has always been to make us like Him. That’s why He created us in His image and likeness, and why He’s given us the fruit of His essence: “His character.” It is why everything He allows to come our way is designed to bring us closer to Him. Satan’s a counterfeit: he’s never created anything eternal. On the other hand, only God can produce character that lasts forever. Speaking of the Old Testament patriarch Joseph, the Bible says, “Until the time came to fulfill His word, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.” (Psalm 105:19, NKJV) Thank God for His tests. They are designed to bring out the best in us, not the worst.
My Goal In Life
I have this one goal in life. It’s a grand goal, and may surprise you, because it sounds a little funny to say, but I believe it anyway. “I want to be so at rest, so completely at peace in my heart, that when people see me, they feel like they’re looking into the face of Jesus.” There, I’ve said it! It’s a lofty goal I know. But, I really believe it’s not just achievable, but that it’s God’s will for my life. To represent Him so well, that everyone would want what I have: a deeply personal and magnificent relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. As Paul wrote, “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11, ESV)
People say, “The church has too many hypocrites!” It’s true. The planet’s packed with hypocrites and some of them are in churches. A hypocrite is someone who’s not always honest; who says one thing and then does another. Do you feel like you have ever fit this definition? I know I have! Yet, I am the only person, besides God, who really knows how big of a hypocrite I really am. And the ultimate judge of my hypocrisy is God Himself. Paul the Apostle wrote, “He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.” (1Corinthians 4:4b-5, NKJV) If you want to see a decrease in hypocrisy: change yourself.
Poisoned By Good Intentions
I want to live safe, don’t you? But life on this treacherous planet is precarious. Recently, an elderly woman in our church died because a caregiver mistakenly thought the mushrooms she picked were edible, when in fact they were poison. Though this seasoned saint loved Jesus, and I’m confident she will spend eternity with Him, she was poisoned by good intentions. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This statement primarily addresses the end result of sinful actions, but it does illustrate a worse case scenario for well-meaning decisions. On the other hand, the Bible says, “…the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.”(Proverbs 4:18, NKJV) Don’t let your life be poisoned by the good intentions of deceived people. Look to Jesus and be saved!