EVERYONE IS SEEKING SOMEONE. We’re either seeking someone to spend time with, to love, to listen, to hire us, complete us, to spend the rest of our lives with, to educate us, mentor us, pat us on the back, or empathize with us.
Knowing whom you seek tells you whose opinion you are seeking. So may I ask: Whose opinion matters most to you?
Before you read on, think about how you’d answer that question.
When I was speaking to my sons during their coming of age celebrations when they turned thirteen, I told them that the nobody’s opinion of them should matter more than what God thinks of them. The directive means that everything you do in life is driven by what God thinks of you and your actions. It means that you spend time with God, you listen to God, you study His word, take His directives and then move out with them. And when you do that, it means—more often than not—that you live like a salmon swimming upstream, going against the flow. Fighting against the world’s wisdom and the world’s status quo.
More often than not, it means that instead of being a world follower, you are a world changer. And not in the political sense. (Check your Bibles, but I don’t think I heard of any of the early Christians carrying political banners, holding rallies, or having shouting matches with the Roman government and Emperor Nero.)
Look at the people in Scripture who changed the world. There are plenty of them, some of whom were the least respected people in society and the last ones you’d expect to change anything.
But they had certain characteristics we should pay attention to:
1. They listened to God.
2. They obeyed God.
3. They had their minds set on heaven rather than on earth because they knew their citizenship was in heaven and not here.
Read that last point again. They had their minds set on heaven rather than on earth. That doesn’t mean they ignored their physical needs; it means they focused on the main thing—that possessions and opinions and political power and 401Ks and Roth IRAs and power positions didn’t absorb their energy. Doing God’s will absorbed their energy, even though it wasn’t always easy and sometimes put their lives at risk.
They were world changers. As Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship says, “A world changer is a thermostat, not a thermometer.”
A world changer sets the temperature, or tone; he doesn’t just report what it is. A thermostat sets the desired temperature, and then regulates when that desired temperature is met. If it’s set to 72 degrees, it keeps the air conditioning unit pumping and working to get the house cooled to that temperature. It doesn’t re-set itself because it’s easier or more advantageous to do that.
And one more point:
4. World changers live by faith.
They live their daily lives based on God’s promises, not their own fluid and often unreliable emotions. They see what others don’t, or what others ignore or dismiss. They apply their faith to their lives, which sometimes means taking risks. Big ones. When the rest of the world is zigging, they decide to zag.
You’ll want to hear everything Pastor Greg has to say about being a world changer. You can find it at the link I've added at the end of the post. It’s worth listening to just for the wonderful testimony of living by faith and finishing well played in the middle of the broadcast.
But before you listen to Pastor Greg and as you go through your week, do some personal assessment and ask yourself some hard questions. (My BFF calls it "soul digging.")
1. How much do you really pay attention to how much do your emotions swing up and down or right and left by the world’s news?
2. How much stock do you take in what others say? How many of your decisions are based on what the world, or your friends say, that don’t line up with what God says?
3. How much praying do you do before making an important decision? How much searching the Scriptures? How much time do you spend listening to political radio or television? Secular opinion talk shows?
4. What kind of influence are you having on your family or friends? And what kind of influence are they having on you?
5. As Pastor Greg asks: “How often do you remind yourself that earth is not your home, that you’re just passing through?” and “Are you expecting this world to give you something it can never deliver?
Honest answers to those questions may reveal why you’re so frustrated with life, angry about the unfairness of it all, why you’re suffering anxiety and depression. Why you feel as though you haven’t achieved, or have fallen short of the world’s or someone else’s standards.
Finding the answers to those questions may give you the peace and joy that’s been eluding you for so long.
Next week we’ll revisit patriotism and how that may clash with your Christian faith. That also goes along with who you seek and how you view this life.
Until next week.
May you prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2).
Photos courtesy of Google Images