“Many spiritual leaders do not lead from courage. They lead from fear. Fear drives many ministries. Fear of being disliked, fear of losing income, fear of failure, fear of conflict–these and a hundred other fears form a giant that calls the leader out of the contest.” Reggie McNeal – A Work of Heart
How often in life do we let our fears dictate what can and cannot do? I’ve heard it said that our fears establish the limits of our life. Fear is a powerful force, and if left unchecked, it can end up taking over our lives and holding us back from reaching our full potential and being all that God has called us to be.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Today, think about your life’s trajectory…Would you say you are walking in confidence knowing the power you have in Christ, or is fear determining your course? God has given all of us the unique set of tools that we need to succeed in what He has called us to do. We can now walk in courage knowing Christ has set us up to succeed because He loves us; and 1 John 4:18 says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear…” We can take on our days with freedom and confidence because of Christ’s love for us. Amen.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1
Being thankful is underrated!
It way too easy to fall into the trap of just focusing on the negatives in life and not giving any mention or thanks to the positives…The truth is, for the most part, we have it so good. It’s vitally important to recognize the incredible blessings we have in our lives and be thankful for them.
So today, I want us all to share a few things that we are thankful and grateful for despite what may be happening in our lives.
I am thankful for:
- A beautiful wife Abby…she filly my life with so much light!
- The best, cutest little boy on the planet
- A cozy home to call my own.
- I get paid to play music…pretty good gig.
- An amazing, functional and supportive family that I can rely on.
Finish this sentence:
Today, I am thankful for…
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Recently, I’ve been in a season of life where I’ve had to choose joy. In these more trying seasons, I often forget that joy is a choice. Since joy is not based on circumstance, it becomes our choice whether or not we are going to experience it. The verse above says to give thank in all circumstances. It doesn’t say for all circumstances but in. So even in tough, unexpected, and bad circumstances, we can choose to give thanks or choose joy.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:19
The funny thing about tough seasons is that they make you feel isolated. When we go through storms, we tend to believe the lie that we are alone and no body else understands what we are experiencing. It is important to protect ourselves from this lie. Our friends may not perfectly understand, but our God does. He is with you always and the unchanging anchor for our soul.
“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7
Whatever you are going through right now, remember you can choose joy and trust that God, who is our hope, is with us no matter what.
What situations are you facing that you need to choose joy?
“God has made humans to reflect Him, but if they do not commit themselves to Him, they will not reflect Him but something else in creation. At the core of our being we are imaging creatures. It is not possible to be neutral on this issue: we either reflect the Creator or something in creation.” Greg Beale
We are God’s masterpieces! We are created in His image and are designed to reflect Him and bring glory and honor to His name.
It is so easy, however, to let other things in life hold a higher value than God. If God is not constantly magnified in our lives, we can begin to lose sight of all he has done. God has blessed us all so immensely and instead of purely thanking God for those blessings, we can start to focus on the blessings and make those the ultimate instead of God himself. We are created with the desire to worship something/someone, but we have to choose what/who.
“And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles…They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Romans 1:23-25
We are not the only people to struggle with keeping our focus on God and not just what he can give us. Paul revealed to the Romans that they struggled with this as well. The truth is, we all have a God-sized hole in our hearts and if we don’t fill it with Him, we will naturally search to fill it with something else…money, possessions, relationships, fame, addictions, etc.
When we look to things of this world or even the blessings of God to fill the “identity hole” in our lives, we stop reflecting God.
So maybe today you are feeling unfulfilled. Maybe today you are having an identity crisis and are left, at the end of the day, feeling empty. It might be time to ask yourself who or what you are filling that God-sized hole up with? What takes up most of your attention and time? What are your pursuits? What would your bank account say is most important to you?
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of what truly is most important to you. Everyday we have a choice to either keep God in the center of our lives or allow temporal substitutes creep in.
Keep God first. It will help everything else make sense.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33