buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Abundant life”

There’s a Difference

I have been told that I am different. My tastes are unique. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease eleven years ago, I eat differently than most people. The first Easter after my change to a healthier lifestyle was the first time I experienced the reality that I was totally different. My Mom was still alive and well at that point. The family was together as was the tradition for holidays. As usual, Mom fixed everyone’s favorite food, except I couldn’t eat any of it.

Mom forgot that I could no longer eat like the rest of the family. I had to have a different menu. Not because I wanted to be different, but because I had chosen to treat my disease with a food-based approach and not a medical prescription approach. My Mom didn’t get it. My family didn’t get it. And on that Easter Sunday, I had to come to terms with hard reality of being different.

I don’t think many people really like to be different, especially young people. We like our friends to be similar to us. Even our church life has the same mentality. We want to be like our neighbors – nice car, nice house, perfect lifestyle with perfect kids. And sometimes that comes with a hefty price tag. We go into debt to finance our desires. I heard Dave Ramsey say recently on a show that we need to be different. Normal is to be in debt. Different is to have a healthy bank account without the burden of debt. The Bible tells us debt is our master; we are a servant to it (Proverbs 22:7). Possessions possess us.

We all need a hard reality check. Jesus didn’t come to burden us but to free us from our burdens. No matter what we struggle with – health issues, debt, unhealthy habits, etc. – Jesus is the answer. How you say? If we are followers of Jesus, we should have a different mentality. We should have a different focus. Pastor Tony Evans has a teaching series on eternal focus. We should be living in the light of eternity. Possessions shouldn’t possess us – sell it. Move into something that is affordable. Free up the bank account so that it allows for Kingdom purpose – to help those in need at a moment’s notice.

Living a healthy lifestyle has changed me in more ways than just my eating habits. It has freed me from the burden of feeling sick and tired all the time. I have the freedom with a clear mind and satisfied heart. Living well is a choice. It may have a steep learning curve, but it’s worth it to be different. Finding the right people to encourage us along the way is important. We don’t all have to be alike. It’s healthy to have a diverse friendship base. They can teach us many things. However, there always has to be a true foundation of belief in Jesus so that no one can move us from Jesus’ rock of truth.

Jesus promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we receive His gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit is our guide to living a different life. The Spirit will give us a check in our spending habits, in our eating habits and in choosing a different path. However, we have to be sensitive to His promptings. If we continue to ignore the promptings, we will no longer feel His leading away from the things that will entangle us in an unhealthy life. There’s a difference in the way we live when the Spirit is in control. It’s not easy living differently, but it’s very rewarding when the Spirit gives us a nudge in the right direction. There’s always a blessing when we do the right thing.

As followers of Jesus, the world cannot give us what we desire. When we look to worldly things, we leave God out of the equation. When God is in the picture, everything is seen in a different light. I had a conversation last week with a fellow at the gym about marriage. He said marriage was overrated. I said, God has to be in the marriage too in order for it to be a good marriage. God has to be in the middle of our lives in order for it to be a good life. We have to live differently. It’s the only way to live a truly joyful, peaceful life. Jesus is the answer. Choose to be different!

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)

Life and Death

Over the last month, death has been on my mind. I have had a few people die recently that have touched my life in some way. None of them were close friends or family, but all of them died suddenly. Maybe they had been sick in one form or another, but death is just always just one last breath away. We never know when death will come to claim us. God says He has numbered our days. We are just a fine mist; here today gone tomorrow.

For much of my life, I have lived it by just drifting through. I didn’t accomplish much. I lived just getting by. I lived going from weekend to weekend; from paycheck to paycheck. I worked so that I could live. But is that all there is to life; to just get by? Or is there something greater to obtain? Climbing the corporate ladder to success, but where does that really get us? I watched a program recently that showed a woman’s closet that was three stories tall. She was showing all her valuables stored in this closet. I wondered if that is what success is all about? A closet full of clothes and accessories? There’s got to be more, right? A couple of weeks later, there was a news report that the lady had a break in and some of her most valuable possessions were stolen. Imagine that? I am not judging this woman’s heart or her possessions.

After this report, I thought of where our treasure is placed. We are told in Scripture to store our treasure in heaven, not in the earthly things that can rot or be stolen. What we store in heaven will grow in abundance. Thieves cannot take away what is placed in God’s hands. Jesus said nothing that is put in God’s hands can be snatched away. I’m sure He was not talking about material possessions but the things that God treasures the most – people. His love is so great for each one of us. But most of the time we give very little thought to Him. We just drift through this life without real thought or purpose. But we are made for more. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Is my life full?

Did those who died recently, did they have the fullness that is promised in Jesus? I don’t know their stories. I don’t know what was in their hearts. I don’t know if Jesus was fully contained within so their lives reflected His love outwardly. That is not for me to judge; but I have to look at my own heart and life. This is for me to discern. This is for me to look and judge my own reflection – is Jesus evident in my life? Am I living with purpose and dedication to what Jesus wants to do through me? This is my time to reflect as I consider my own mortality. I want my life to touch others in a way that gives God the glory. I want to be a reflection of Jesus. I want to make a difference here so that I may gain treasure in heaven. This will be a successfully full life here. This I want desperately because there is a desperate world out there that needs to see Jesus. There isn’t much time left. My days are numbered. And who knows when Jesus may come again. I need to be busy; I have said it too many times; I need to make it count and do it.

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:14-16

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