Archives For Matthew

What fears and excuses get in the way of you living on mission for Christ? What keeps you from living the life He created you to live? If Jesus was, at some point in your life, worth surrendering your life to Him, I’m going to assume you meant it. I will presume you do not wake every day contemplating ways to live in opposition to His Kingdom and His plan.

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My guess is you want to live your life for Him. You want to be the person He created you to be, because you understand you will never find true peace, joy, and fulfillment any other way. If all this is true, what are the reasons you have for not living on mission?

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Recently I was reading some A.W. Tozer and was hit by these words: “Men and women are being molded by their affinities, shaped by their affections and powerfully transformed by the artistry of their loves. In the unregenerate world of Adam, this produces, day by day, tragedies of cosmic proportions.” Take a moment to read that again. Let it sink in. Every day, we are being molded by what we are choosing to love.

shaping our lives

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Our lives are framed by those things to which we are giving our attention. We choose. We decide how our lives will be shaped. For most of us, circumstances have occurred over which we’ve had no control. Some of these are so horrific we cannot help but have them shape who we are. But most of what we allow to shape our lives is by our choice. And most of it is not healthy.

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We’ve all had one of those days. One of those days when nothing seems to go right. The car breaks down. The babysitter bails. You spill coffee down your shirt before a big presentation. Or maybe it’s one of those days that negatively impact your life forever. A parent dies, or a spouse walks out. You lose your life savings in an investment that was never supposed to fail.

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I’m not sure why, but often these disastrous and tragic events seem to occur in groups. In these times, your faith will be tested. When you have one of those days, how will your perception of God change?

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We are not, by nature, a humble people. We desire to be praised and honored. At times, we even seek it. At the very least, we maintain a deep and sometimes hidden desire to be recognized and known. Our tendency to pursue selfish pleasures over the needs of others is rampant. God forgive us for having our focus on ourselves instead of others. Forgive us for not keeping our eyes on You.

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Our preoccupation with self is destroying our lives, our purpose, and our sense of peace. If we would put Jesus first in our lives, if we would live lives looking like Him, we would be fulfilled and joyful. Alas, we are not a humble people. Humility seems to always lay just beyond our grasp.

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In Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10, Paul tells us we have each been created to do the specific work God designed us to do. Have you ever paused to think how amazing this is? Each person in history, in every country, and in every time, has been born with a God-ordained purpose for their lives. When each of us fulfills our purpose, it becomes part of the greater whole. It’s another brick in the massive Kingdom of God.

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When we fail to do the work He designed us to do, there is something missing. There’s a gap which must be filled. It’s an awesome responsibility. I can’t believe the privilege of doing work God designed me to do. How amazing is that? We must never forget the magnitude of the honor, or the obligation to fulfill it.

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One of my mentors, Jim Rohn, was known for saying, “For things to change, you have to change.” So many want a closer relationship with Christ, to move beyond Christianity into discipleship, but waste their lives waiting for the transformation to occur. We have a role to play in becoming a disciple. Put simply, discipleship is a choice, and it is up to each of us to decide if it’s worth it.

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If we believe in Jesus but aren’t pursuing a life of discipleship, we are valuing the things of this earth more than we value Him. I am troubled by anyone who professes Jesus with their lips but denies Him with their attitudes and actions. Jesus didn’t call us to a life of belief in Him; He called us to a radical abandonment of all things that are not Him.

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Being a disciple of Jesus should cost you something. If it isn’t, chances are you aren’t a disciple. It’s easy to assume you are a disciple of Jesus once you say the magic prayer and invite Him into your life. While such an assumption is safe and comfortable, it isn’t reality. Rather than frightening us, we should all be encouraged to pay whatever price necessary for the privilege of following Jesus.

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A.W. Tozer once prayed the Lord would make him “willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp.” Tozer understood being a disciple of Jesus would cost him something in this life. What is discipleship costing you?

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In his book, “The End of Religion”, Pastor Bruxy Cavey writes, “If Jesus is God coming to us, and becoming one of us, then religion is redundant. Religion uses rules to force our steps, guilt to keep us in line, and rituals to remind us of our failure to live up to those rules. In doing this, religion adds more weight to those who are already burdened with life’s hardships.”

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But Jesus said his burden was easy and light (Matthew 11:30). He didn’t come to add a bunch of rules to our lives. He came to simplify what man had overcomplicated. Jesus came to show we don’t need religion; all we need is God.

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Few would admit it, but what most people want is a comfortable relationship with Jesus. We want answered prayers, help through troubled times, and comfort in crisis. Oh, and spending eternity in Heaven while escaping Hell, we want that too. Those are the comfortable benefits making Jesus so desirable to us, after all. Here’s where it gets a little uncomfortable. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time talking up those benefits. He spent most of His time warning of trials and persecution, and giving stern warnings to those seeking to live a comfortable “religious” life.

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His harshest words were reserved for people just like us… those who were trying please God through comfortable and often self-serving platitudes. Comfortable Christianity is synonymous with Pharisaical living.

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We all worship something. It’s how we were created. Whether we realize it or not, we are worshippers. The only question is what, or who, is it we are worshipping? Saying we worship something or someone other than God is an uncomfortable admission. We don’t want to believe we worship unworthy objects.

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Many people and things will demand our worship, but only God is worthy of it. In fact, he demands we worship only Him. This goes all the way back to the Ten Commandments. Somehow, thousands of years later, we still haven’t been able to honor what He requires.

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