Monday, September 29, 2014
Friends of Faith:
I know there are certain things that I do regularly (pray, go to church, and serve others) which give me a sense of joy, a sense of freedom and even a sense of accomplishment. But I also know my intention and goal to do these simple things more often, to say yes to God’s call, is often followed by the realization a couple of days later that I have fallen short of my promises and my goals.
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: "What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' He said in reply, 'I will not,’ but afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, 'Yes, sir, ‘but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?" They answered, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him." Mt 21: 28-32
But yet even the tax collector and the prostitute were able to make lasting changes that allowed them to enter the kingdom of heaven.
So what attitudes are central to a believer’s life and what commitment to change brings about those attitudes and simple yet practical changes?
Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus. Phil 2: 1-5
Yesterday Father suggested these 6 attitudes, goals and questions to accomplish our “yes” goals:
1) Love the Word of God. Pray one verse daily. If God’s word isn’t the center of my life, who’s word is?
2) Sacraments. Encounter Christ’s presence often. If God’s presence isn’t central to my life, than the only other possible center is me, myself, and I.
3) Worship. Spend time with God regularly. Going to Church on Sunday isn’t enough, keeping holy the Sabbath means more. Doing what is right is not always convenient, but to do God’s will even when we don’t “feel like it” means that I have made God bigger than me. Is God’s will central to my decision making? For if I do not DO the WILL of God, who’s will am I doing?
4) Stewardship. God has given us the gift of life and the gift of time. Do we give thanks to God for being able to breath and for having the time to see his creation? How much do I have that I take for granted? Do I thank God for life, and God’s “stuff” or am I constantly seeking more of the world’s stuff?
5) Prayer is listening to God. God may hit me over the head with fire and wind, but more often he is a whisper I need to listen in the silence for. We live in a noisy world that constantly tries to get our attention and if I am not listening regularly to God it probably means I am listening to the world.
6) Baptism is the doorway to grace. Do I keep the door of my heart open to His grace? Do I see the choice to choose God’s way as a burden or as an opportunity? Not all of life’s journey will be easy or without sacrifice – even Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross in answering yes to God. Is my yes to serving God bigger than my yes to serving myself?
If God isn’t bigger than us, than that means we have made ourselves bigger than God. Will I say yes to God and am I willing to make the commitment to change for Him?
Heavenly Father, You are bigger than life itself. I know you should be the center of my life in everything I choose to do, to see and to be. Help me to hear you, yearn for you, listen for you, spend time with you and give back to you. Thank you for ALL You have given me. Help me to choose to see that it is enough. Amen.
So why am I excited to give and to share the center of my life with others? Because I said yes to making God my center!
May you center your life on His word, His creation and His presence.