“The Lord your God is living among you.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)
Our relationship with God is not passive or dormant; it is dynamic, full of purpose, active, creative, and productive. In order to accomplish all that God has willed for us, it is critical that we utilize the time we have on earth. We are here for such a short time, and Scripture actually instructs us to “number our days” (see Psalm 90:12, NIV).
God has created us in Christ Jesus to do good works (see Ephesians 2:10, NIV). And we need to be busy doing them until he either comes for us or we physically die and go to live with him. It is our responsibility to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus. God has taken each one of us, transformed us, and now has a plan for how we can make a difference in his world.
I personally have experienced how God can take a totally self-absorbed, selfish, self-ambitious person (do you see the word self showing up in every adjective?) who lived a life consumed with pursuing earthly goals, giving no thought to what happens after one leaves this world, and transformed that individual into a person committed to helping fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. Prior to Jesus Christ coming into my life, I listened strictly to the message of this world. I had no time for or interest in God’s Word. I had earthly goals to pursue. Surely, earthly treasure was my god. Then, after hearing the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ, I invited him into my life to be my personal Lord and Savior. Over time, God has transformed my worldview, and subsequently, the use of my time, talent, and treasure. At times, it has been traumatic, painful, and confusing, as I progressed from a person who was pursuing more and more of the world’s riches to a kingdom boy who desires more and more of Christ. But all along God has been renewing and energizing me for a new mission in this life.
It’s difficult to stay focused. Many things vie for our attention: family, friends, work, hobbies, sports. Many of these things are good, but they can actually get in the way of God’s plans and purposes for us. Paul wrote, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13–14, NLT, emphasis added). As you consider your days, do they just “happen” or are you intentional in how you are going to use your time? Are you focusing on earthly goals or heavenly goals? And how do you balance it all? As we focus on God’s purposes, read his Word and apply it to our lives, and take time to discuss all of it with God, the Holy Spirit will empower us to keep our eyes on the heavenly prize. But it takes time. Time every day with God.
And in the process, it is imperative that we choose to bring every thought into captive obedience to Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV) so we can live in accordance with his will and plan for our lives. One of the ways that I accomplish this in my life is to ask the Holy Spirit to control my mind. Romans 8:6 tells us, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (NIV). There’s a lot of garbage out there to feed your mind. But when your mind is controlled by the Holy Spirit the Bible tells us we will experience life and peace.
Honestly, are you consistently living your life for Christ? What steps do you need to take to daily keep your relationship with Christ a priority?