I'm not usually one to make New Year's Resolutions. Either I don't follow through or they seem trivial to me, so I just don't make them. However, this morning left me feeling a little different. Since leaving church today, I have had so much on my heart and mind. Not sure if everything was really as great as I think it was, or if it was simply the fact the ears of my heart were listening. Either way, this morning left me realizing there were some changes I want to make. I won't call them New Year's Resolutions, because I want them to be more than something I think of on December 31 as a good idea to do for the following year.
One thing the pastor said this morning left me in deep thought. He said, "If you don't want to spend your life here on earth with God, then why would you want to spend an eternity with Him?" I don't necessarily think I live my life far away from God, but I know there is always room for growth. And more importantly, in growth of spending my life here with God, I pray the way I live my life would cause others to do the same. May the way I live cause those closest and furthest from me to want to spend more than their eternal life with Him. Hearing those words broke my heart. There are too many people around me who have made professions of faith at some point, who call Jesus their Savior, yet live their lives so far away from God and His truths. When I can see this in other people close to me and the way I live my life doesn't cause them to reconsider the way they live, there is room for improvement. Please don't think I believe I can change the lives of people around me. I don't. But I believe if I were allowing God to do all He can through me, those people would see HIM and come to a place where they must evaluate their spirtual journey.
Change: I want my life, my actions, to scream God's name and point to Him above all else.
This morning our pastor also talked about stirring up love. There is a song called 'What Love Really Means' by J.J. Heller. From the very first time I heard it, my heart ached at its words. Although I may not see them personally all day every day, there are people everywhere who don't know true love, who don't know God's love. The song's chorus says,
"Who will love me for me? Not for what I have done or
who I will become. Who will love me for me? Cause
nobody has shown me what love, what love really means."
I think this song causes my heart to ache, because I know! I know what love really means! I have experienced God's love, even when I deserved it the least! He has shown me His love. If I know His love, how can I not share it? How can I not love that way? Why do I live my life in such a way where someone could come in contact with me and not know what love really means?
Change: Pray constantly for God to give me opportunities to show others, whether I know them or not, what love really means. And ask that He not only give me the opportunity, but to open my eyes so I may see each opportunity and not be blind to what is happening around me.
In our Sunday School lesson today, we talked about when Peter confessed to Jesus he believed Christ was the Son of the Living God. At the end of the passage we studied, Jesus told His disciples this in Matthew 16:20, "Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ." Although, after Christ was resurrected from His death he called us to go into all the nations and preach His Word and Truth, I believe there are times when God doesn't want us to tell others He is the Christ. I believe he wants us to show others through the way we live and the way we love. My co-teacher was telling the class about a debate she saw on tv not too long ago. It was two politicians, one a believer and the other not. The non-believer said to the Christian man, "Christians think they have to make everyone else believe exactly what they believe. Believe what you want, but don't force it on me." Of course, part of Christianity is spreading the Gospel. But I would be willing to bet, if all Christians would live and love as Christ called us to, non believers would be a lot more willing to hear what we had to say. After all the Bible does tell us if it isn't spoken in love, we are nothing but a clanging symbol.
Change: May I not have to use words to spread the Gospel. But may my actions and love cause others around me to desire the changes God has made in me. And when I do speak of Christ and my beliefs, may I be more than a clanging symbol.