Our time is in our hands. We choose how we live each day. Jesus came and died for us. He left this earth to go and prepare a place for us. The reality and truth of God’s grace should make a difference in how we live while we wait for Jesus to return.
Titus 2:11-14 NIV “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
The apostle Paul tells us that this grace teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions. John in 1 John 1:15-17 MSG expands on this, he says:
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out – but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”
We can’t have it both ways, loving the world and loving God. Matthew 6:24 says “You cannot have two masters. You will love one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Yet, it seems that we are pulled, as if by a magnet, to the things of this world and away from God. We grow distracted.
Our own selfishness leads us to:
- – wanting our own way in life; in our homes, in our relationships, and in our work places, even on the road. We want things to go our way. We don’t want anyone or anything to disrupt us on our way.
- – wanting everything for ourselves, we get greedy, we covet what others have, we can’t get enough stuff, and if our stuff gets old it isn’t good enough, we must have the newest option. There often isn’t just one t.v. in the house but two and three, even four or more, so that everyone can watch what they want when they want to.
- – the need to appear important. I think it is out of this attitude that so much striving comes. We strive to make our homes and lives look perfect, isn’t that what Facebook so often ends up being about? We want others to know we are on our way, we are getting ahead, we are fighting for the American dream, finding a way to have it all. We pull out all the stops. We hide the imperfections, the struggles, the problems, the maxxed-out credit cards, the bills, and the desperate pain of loneliness.
But all of this has nothing to do with the Father, in fact all of this only isolates us from Him. We become so wrapped up in self; getting things to go our way, getting all that we want, and getting others to see how very important we are, that in all the busyness and wanting, we lose sight of the Lord.
Paul tells us in Titus that we need to say “No” to all of this. He tells us that we need to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. It seems that we get so wrapped up in the temporal and worldly that we forget about the eternal and spiritual.
So, how can we keep our minds set on the spiritual, eternal realm? We can find help in God’s Word, as it gives us specific guidelines for living in this world.
- Colossians 3:2 AMP tells us to “set your mind and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not at things that are on the earth.” (Other parts of scripture give us more detailed help, look up these verses for further study: Philippians 4:8-9, Romans 12;2, Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Psalm 16:8, Colossians 3:5-9, and 2 Corinthian 10:4-5.) Ask yourself: What can I do to help my mind to be stayed on the Lord and the things of Him? Take time to write your answers in a journal.
- Hebrews 12:1-2 AMP “…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight)) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus...” We are enticed and pulled into sin, Satan knows just what to dangle in front of us. What is entangling you? Ask yourself: What do I need to throw off or set aside that is distracting and entangling me in this world?
- Galatians 5:22-23 We need to be guided by the Holy Spirit. “…the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy, (gladness), peace, patience, (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control, (self-restraint, continence).” How are you opening yourself to the Spirit’s guidance? Are you yielded to Him? Can you see growth in your heart? Consider where you were spiritually a year ago; your attitudes and responses to people, conditions, life itself. Compare those to what they are like now, do you see Christ-likeness developing within? How much of a deadlock-grip does the world have on you and how you live your life?
Paul tell us that the Lord saved us for His purposes to redeem us from wickedness and to purify us to be His own, so that we would be eager to do what is good. God’s grace bought us redemption and eternal life through Jesus, what will we do while we wait for Him?
I know I am convicted by Paul’s words. I get so distracted by the temporal. It is hard to live in this world and not get lost in it’s ways. What about you?
Oh Lord, help us, we are so easily led astray. Help us wait wisely.