I previously wrote that Christians aim to live a life that is centered on God, but you can also avoid one. I want to discuss this by looking at the life of Jonah so that you won’t avoid a God-centered life but cultivate one. You can avoid it for a...
“This year is going to be different,” I say, as I roll up my headphones and look for my gym key card, which I had not used for the last two months. I find it shoved in my glove compartment and play “This Is My Fight Song” as I head into the gym.
I have resolved this year to “be healthy.” I am very aware that statement could be one of the vaguest resolutions made in the history of resolutions, but that is what I’ve decided. I know all the experts say to create reasonable goals, be specific, and figure out some way to evaluate the achievement of your goals, but mine was simply to be healthy. I was not going to be one of “those people” who fail. I was going to be one of the 8% who make their resolution and stick to it!
And my decision to go to the gym was completely fulfilling my resolution. I had wonderful intentions to work out, run at least three times a week, and never to eat McDonald’s greasy French fries again. Although this was only my first trip to the gym, I had walked the dog twice that week, and I had only eaten a few French fries that my kids got as a snack. Okay…a few handfuls.
But my intentions were very good. I knew I was going for my resolution and that I did not want to break it. I fully intended on following through with it. I was putting myself in that 8% category and totally denying that I could be a lazy, non-goal oriented member of the 92%. And then I got to thinking…
Isn’t it interesting how we judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions?
It is a subtle, yet skewed, thinking process:
- We were going to call that friend but completely forgot, yet we get hurt when another friend forgets that we were supposed to meet for coffee.
- We turn in our time sheets a few days late, but get miffed when the boss forgets to give us our overtime pay.
- We say, “God, hurry up and give me something great to do for you” but then refuse to spend time seeking his wisdom for our days.
Just like creating resolutions requires more than good intentions, following hard after God requires more than just a list of things we want to accomplish for him.
Just like many of us want to lose weight without going to the gym or eating healthy, many of us want to get a holy, world-changing assignment from God while refusing to make any major adjustment in our own lives.
In the Bible, when God spoke to his people about something he wanted them to do, each person had to make a major adjustment in his or her life:
- Noah could not build the ark without sacrificing his time.
- David had to give up wearing someone else’s armor to fight the giant, Goliath.
- Esther had to push fear aside and approach the King with her request to save her people.
And the ultimate example is Jesus Christ. He didn’t just have honorable intentions of dying on the cross, but his action is what saved us from our sin:
You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Jesus didn’t just intend on saving us and stop there. He gave up his position in heaven in order to join the Father in providing redemption through his death on the cross. Now, that, my friends, is real action!
Spend some time today asking yourself these questions:
- What adjustments do I need to make in order to submit to God’s will?
- Am I responding to all God is leading me to do?
- What actions do I need to follow through on today?