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Monday, March 6, 2017

Building a Framework of Hope: Part 4

There are so many things we build our lives upon. 

Many of them are given to us by God, like our family, jobs, ministry, and church.

But even “good things” can get in the way of a relationship with God.

And to have a Framework of Lasting Hope, you need a relationship with God. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
 In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”
 John 16:33 NIV (emphasis mine)

Notice the “IN ME” part of that?

In order to have peace, you must be IN Christ.

That requires a relationship.

 And a good relationship takes more than a “sinner’s prayer”. Just like a good marriage goes beyond saying the vows. 

Hopefully since my last posts you’ve taken the time to figure out where you are RIGHT NOW in your relationship with Christ and you can identify what you’re building your life upon. I pray you recognize where your priorities are and you realize there are things in your life keeping you from having a deeper relationship with God.

Let’s continue the journey of discovering what motivates our decisions and actions as these will further reveal our hearts true desires.  

Think about your previous week…the decisions you faced, the problems you solved, the things you let slide, the things you made sure got accomplished and what kept you awake at night. 

Keeping these in mind:  What motivated your choices? 

Necessity (eating, bathing, etc.)
Priority (bills, deadlines, people depending on you)
Want (leisure activities, family time)

Where did God fit into all this? Did you consult Him before making decisions? Did you thank Him for problems solved? Did you ask Him what HIS priorities where and where HE wanted you to focus your time and energy? Was He involved…or an afterthought? (If you’re feeling guilt or shame, please refer to 1 John 1:9. Satan uses these emotions to cripple us and keep us from moving forward in our maturity)

Digging deeper—Do you make decisions based on comfort? 

What I mean is—Do you take the easy way or are you willing to go the extra mile? 

Are there things you’ve put in place to make your life easier? 

I’m NOT saying comfort and ease are bad—but they can be if you’ve put systems in place that minimize your need of God.

What worries and coping mechanisms do you indulge in that show your lack of Spiritual peace with God?

I’m asking this because in order to MOVE forward and grow in Christ, we must remove anything that hinders our seeking God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

Let me give you an example from my life:

I like making lists. They make my life easier. They give me order. 

The downside(s) to this is that I’m not always open to listening to God’s promptings. 

I might hear the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray, but I’m in the middle of another task. I don’t want the interruption so instead of stopping what I’m doing—I multitask. I continue my “to-do” list as I pray.

While this isn’t necessarily bad, it can stifle my communication with God.

Look at it like this—would your spouse be happy with you if he/she called you with a very important need and you continued typing on your computer as you half-heartedly listened? Would they feel like they were important to you? Would this behavior, especially repeated continually, enhance your relationship or diminish it?

My “To-Do” lists can also increase my anxiety if they aren’t accomplished and this makes me less than pleasant to be around. I rush through important things, like family time and Bible reading in order to check off something far less important on my list, like laundry.

On a good day, when I’m ahead of schedule, I feel a sense of accomplishment—“look what I can do!” 

ALL of these things keep God from being front and center in my thoughts, heart, and emotions as I rely on my own strength and talents to get through my day.

Your turn:  

What motivates your decisions? Do you have systems in place that keep you from depending on God and including Him in your day? Are there things you need to let go of, or re-evaluate, in order for you to be “IN” Christ?

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