How are you doing, in this moment? In this season of life, where are you in your walk with Christ? What are you doing – right now – to reflect His love and character to those around you? In this moment, how are you living like Jesus? We don’t often go through our days pondering such questions, but why not? Why are we not consumed every minute with our Lord and Savior?

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How is it we believe almost everything except God is worthy of our focus? When did it become okay to ignore our pledge to be His servants and for Him to be our Lord? Perhaps the bigger question to ask in this moment is what are we going to do to correct the mess of wrong thinking we’ve allowed into our lives?

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No one is off the hook when it comes to serving Jesus. In our American culture, church has become a place we go to on a certain day of the week. It’s a place where we sit attentively and interact minimally. We watch a select few lead in worship and a single individual deliver a message. Then we get up and shuffle orderly out the door and back into our lives.

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We might have some coffee, donuts, and shallow conversation on our way in or out of the building, but that’s about it. For many, this is the extent of their church-going experience. We’re not involved or invested. It’s become a selfish and borderline narcissistic exercise.

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This is a topic I revisit every so often, but probably not often enough. We need to remember the persecuted around the world. Every day while we enjoy the comforts and freedom of our lives, our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing unspeakable torture and persecution. Throughout the New Testament, Paul urged all believers to be united as one (Ephesians 4:1-16). Jesus prayed His followers would be as close as He and His Father are (John 17:21).

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To be united, to stand as one, we must continuously pray for and identify with our fellow believers around the world. Allow me to throw down a challenge to you in the form of a question: how much time are you spending in prayer for our brothers and sisters in chains?

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My personality is such I try to become better every day. It’s the way I’m wired. What this means for me is, each day I look to improve my relationship with God and the way I live for Him. I look for ways to be better in my job, and to hone my writing craft. I am always on the lookout for processes and methodologies to make me more efficient and effective in everything I do. Truth be told, I’m probably a bit (or a lot) obsessive about these things.

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I am of the conviction God has given me gifts and talents to be used for His glory, and I have an extraordinary appreciation for the shortness of time. I want to maximize whatever He has entrusted to me so I might bring God immense glory and leave His mark on this world before I depart.

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Over the past couple of posts (see “In the Presence of God” and “Bible Study”), I’ve been looking at some foundational aspects of following Christ. We’ve discussed prayer and Bible study, which are the linchpins in getting to know God. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on what I see as the third, and perhaps most important, tenet in living a life wholly devoted to God: practicing obedience.

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The reason I feel this might be the most important aspect of developing your relationship with Jesus is because the other two concern learning who He is and what He’d have you to do. Practicing obedience is all about taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

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In the last post (see “In the Presence of God”), we talked about the importance of establishing a daily time in prayer with God. Getting to know and understand Him will be the linchpin in learning to live the life you were created to live. The other side of the prayer coin is studying His Word. Reading the Bible is another way He speaks to us. I know this will be basic to those who have been following Christ for any length of time, but how many are actually taking time to engage with God’s Word daily?

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I’m not talking about a checkbox reading either. We need to move beyond having a reading plan and working simply to tick off the box for that day. Rather, we need to immerse ourselves in His Word every day.

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There is no more awesome feeling than being in the presence of God. If you’ve spent time there, you know this for yourself. Its true God is always near, but in our busyness, we tend not to notice Him. Once you’ve tasted being in the presence of God, you crave more time there. Knowing this, why is it we spend so little of our precious time pursuing the greatest love of our life?

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Is it, perhaps, we don’t consider Christ to be our greatest love? Or maybe we think we’ll get back to God once our lives slow down and we’ve accomplished certain goals? For those who have pledged our lives to Jesus, there is no excuse for not spending time in His presence.

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People are always looking to find out what God’s will is for their life. We’ve covered this in several posts before (see these posts), and the inevitable next question is, “What do I do to live out His will in my life?”. We confuse vocation with God’s will. His will is for you to look like His Son. Walk like Jesus walked, talk like Jesus talked, and love like Jesus loved; this is God’s will for your life.

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No matter what you do, if you want to be living the life you were meant to live, you’ve got to become wholly devoted to God. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Until you are ready to give everything over to God, you will never fulfill your potential.

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I don’t know if it’s the fact I’m approaching 50, or a matter of what I’ve been learning, but I keep getting smacked in the face with the importance of being aware of how we spend our time. Nothing is so valuable as time, because we cannot ever get back what we spend, we can’t borrow more when we need it, and we can never acquire more once it’s gone.

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Yet it appears time is the resource with which we are least responsible. We count our pennies, mind our career, and nurture relationships, but time is an afterthought. We’ve gotten this backwards. Nothing is more important to steward than the time God has given us on earth.

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Imagine your father was the richest, most powerful man in the world. Think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet rich. Now imagine also you were your father’s prize, the apple of his eye. No matter how many mistakes you made, he always forgave you, always wrapped his arms around you letting you know everything would be okay. Finally, imagine despite all his wealth and love, the thing you enjoyed most was disappointing him.

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Instead of taking advantage of the best life had to offer, you preferred cheap knock-offs. Once more imagine every time he reached out to hold you, you laughed and walked the other way. Wouldn’t it be great if this was just a bad fairy tale?

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