by David Brenneman
The reality of life is that at it's end is when we discover the value in it. We find God's truth whether or not it's believed in this physical realm or not.
We will indeed learn either the easy way or the hard way that God's hands had been involved in our lives from beginning to end. His care and love for us will have been made evident when we face Him either as Lord or as Judge and Lord. At the time appointed all will kneel and bow before Jesus and call Him Lord. It's upon every human being to decide either to do so willingly or unwillingly.
Placing value on something in this life changes the course of our lives. When we focus on our bodies then there is where we place our value. I had a conversation with someone who had been a body builder. Focusing on his body had been everything to him and in his words it was a trap.
When we place our value on self above others it shows. We even have a word for that called being selfish. We can be selfish with anything and everything. Satan loves it when we DO use anything and everything to satisfy self.
Satan will even, as we see written in the Gospels, get us to use Scripture to justify our particular brand of selfishness. Getting us to focus on that which isn't necessarily going to grow us in Christ just enough to keep us from growing at all in the way God intended. Satan doesn't care how he sways people as long as he can get them to just NOT do exactly what God wants of them.
Look into your own life this day...look at it in light of that passage from Acts 20:24. That passage has a lot to say about those passages that we read of how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
You're going to be tempted today. In all sorts of subtle ways and maybe a few overt ways. But you will be tempted. Sometimes with me I get hit broadside by something because I was so focused on avoiding something else. Never see it coming then WHAM there it is.
When you are sitting still what do you think about? This to do, that to do? Or do you ever at all just sit in prayer saying not much of anything...just listening for God to maybe say something to you? Do you complain a lot and in your complaining maybe miss what it is that God's been trying to tell you?
There's a passage that says some will trust in horses some will trust in chariots...but I will trust in the Name of our God. What do you trust in? Are you trusting in what things you've bought in order to create your own little utopia here on Earth? Are you at all looking to see what it is that the Spirit's trying to teach you in order to grow you in Christ Jesus? Trials and temptations do come our way for various reasons and it's not always what we think. God DOES allow various things in order to get our Spiritual Roots to grow deeper. To get us to love Him more, to trust in Him more. When our trust is in things and not in Him we have significant problems. When we do not make the most of opportunities given to us that He's made available to us...we have problems.
What we value often shows us where our hearts are. We see throughout the 4 Gospels that Jesus valued people. With the Jewish Leaders He quite often rebuked them for their unbelief. Consider that. Think about that one little point. Just as Satan misused a few passages out of the Old Testament with Jesus that we read...because Satan didn't understand those words either...so did the Jewish Leaders who had ALL of the Old Testament. They would misuse and abuse the Old Testament for their own benefit. The power of God within it's words did nothing to transform their lives. They daily did what we read of Satan doing to Jesus with God's Word on that one occasion. Abuse of God's Word has happened all the way back to Genesis. People doing that name it and claim it thing. People taking what was a prayer for THAT person and moment for their own when it wasn't meant to be that way.
Jesus wants our lives to be like His own...but He doesn't want cookie-cutter Christians. The Spirit of God has placed each Believer in the body as He sees fit. Each part of the body of Christ has something that he or she's been called to do while they yet have the breath of life in them. It's not for us to go after someone else's place in the body. It's not for us to try to be an ear when the Spirit says we're a hand for our time on this Earth.
What has the Spirit called you to be doing? Do you value your calling as important as it is important to Jesus for you? Are you valuing who you are in the body of Christ or are you jealous of others in the body of Christ? Are you valuing who you are in the body of Christ or are you trying to be a part you are not because you were hurt by others in this life? Maybe even by other Believers?
My prayer even concerning my employment is to be doing that which is best for me to be doing that uses the gifts, talents and abilities granted to me by God for His purpose. If I'm still alive when Jesus returns I want to be found DOING what it was He's called me to be doing. I most certainly do NOT want to be found by Him doing something that wasn't God honoring upon His return. Satan's greatest thing in our time is teaching people how to waste their time, energy, efforts, money, everything on anything and everything to avoid walking with God as God intended us to. Millions of dollars are spent on people in everything from politics to sports to entertainment for absolutely no value at all in growing in Christ. Getting people to collect things with their money that God's given them for no other purpose than to hold onto memories rather than growing the Kingdom of God. Putting value in things and emotions and feelings rather than in growing in Jesus.
It's a struggle to let go of things. To let go of parts of my life that serve no good to my life in Christ. The temptation is to pick those things back up again because usually they are just barely at arms length from being picked back up. When we moved we had to face some - to us at least - harsh decisions on what to keep and what to pack up. We had to let go of things that had memories attached to them. We had to decide what was more important. In more practical terms: God was cleaning house with us in moving us.
Paul was a very practical man, not just a very Godly man. His value was on the Word of God in written form and in the sermons he gave. He wanted with him that which would grow him in Christ.
The world wants us to value what it has to offer. They want us to put those things of value on the thrones of our hearts so that Jesus has to sit somewhere else.
Everyone and everything is fair game to Satan in regards to this. From family and friends to things Satan will try to get us to convince ourselves that we're justified in our standing. That's exactly what he did with Adam and Eve. Got them to believe that they were justified in choosing self over what God's Word had said.
What do you value? Look at your wardrobe. Look at your transportation. Look at what occupies your mind during your day. Do you justify your anger in light of your choice of entertainment? Do you rage because of something like a basketball game, football game, baseball game...and in doing so show the world that you're no different than they are? That you too can embrace the darkness of this world? Because that's really what is happening. It's our covering up the light of Christ in order to cozy up to people. In my time in the public education system I learned how to, because of peer pressure, to use words to tear down and emotionally destroy people. Sad to say, I was rather good at it. Further to say I was a Christian at that time as well. I valued the opinions of other people above loving others as Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me.
We can put value on things, on people, and don't even realize we're pushing Jesus off the throne in our hearts.
We can put value on things, on people, and don't even realize we're not defending our position in Christ but showing the world we're no different than them and not in a good way.
We can put value on things, on people, and don't even realize we're covering up the light of Christ that we were given to show the world the way to salvation.
I still find myself being lead to let go of some things and they get either thrown in the trash or donated or sometimes sold. As are all Believers, while we yet live, we're a work in progress. I still find myself putting value on some of the wrong things in life...and end up either face planted or kissing a wall because I didn't see the danger of the temptation at hand.
Are you valuing something or someone so much that you have Jesus sittings somewhere else in your heart rather than where He's supposed to be?
Do situations and circumstances that you willingly involving yourself in cause you to hide the light of Christ rather than to let it shine in you?
Jesus isn't a tool. He's to be your Savior and Lord. He is jealous for us. He is wanting an intimate relationship with us. He is wanting us to share with others that which is of value...Him.
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