As my Monday night small group works its way through Crazy Love, I am amazed at the parallel of my life to the things we are reading about. I shouldn’t be, I know God is amazing, but it catches me every time. I know God is using this study to help me become the woman I really want to be, to help me turn my back on the woman I have been, the one who will do anything to please the people in her life, seeking their approval because of my feelings of low self-worth. There is the root cause of my current depression. The cure for that, God’s unconditional love. God is faithful, He knows exactly what I need and ensures it is within my reach.
The question posed in our Crazy Love study last night was to think of someone I know who died abruptly. What were the achievements in their life and what were their regrets? Since there has been a bit of death amongst my acquaintances in the past couple of years it wasn’t too difficult to come up with an answer.
As we discussed this answer my mind drifted off. Once I am gone how will people perceive me and my life? What have I achieved? What are my regrets and will others know of them? Francis Chan asks “If today was the day you died, what would you regret and why? What can you change about your life today to avoid those regrets?”
This blog post by Michael Hyatt appeared in my mailbox Monday morning but I didn’t read it until yesterday. I know God planned it that way, He does stuff like that to get my attention. I just love the way it tied into Monday evening’s lesson and the questions I have been asking myself.
What have I achieved with my life? There are many things. Looking at my life from a secular perspective I accomplished being the best mother I was capable of being at the time, a good employee, a great cook and a watercolor artist with a modest talent. But it’s not secular accomplishments I want to be known for. Do people know the depth and breadth of my faith? Do they know my heart for the poor and hurting? Do they know that I, just like them, struggle in my daily walk? Do they know I hunger and thirst to know more of God, to build a closer relationship with Him? I’m not discussing the people in my small group, I know their view of me, I am discussing the other people in my life, my parents, my children, the people who sit around me in church. I am discussing my neighbors, my co-workers and my friends. Do they know me?
The best way to ensure this is to let my faith speak for itself. How do I do that? James speaks to this very topic in the first chapter of his book: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” –James 1:19 – 27
Ay! That was a long passage, but it has one very important message: Do not be fooled into thinking that just because you say you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are saved. If you truly have accepted Jesus as Lord of your life than your actions will reflect that. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior means you have surrendered your life to Him. It means that your greatest desire is to walk in obedience to Him. Does my life reflect that? Will people look at my actions and my behavior and know that I am a sold-out for the Lord Christian? It is my opinion that you are not saved if you go to church every weekend and warm a seat in your favorite pew and then return home and live a secular life. I believe that saving faith means you become a bond servant to Christ.
Monday evening my friends and I spoke of people whose lives reflected Christ. I spoke of how I believe my life falls far short of what Christ asks of me. My life, even though it is a life of service to Christ, has reflected anger and self-centeredness. I have complained and moaned and griped my way through some of the toughest times in my life. I have been angry with those who treated me in a manner I felt was unfair. I blamed other people for the set-backs and failures in my life. Recently I have begun to change that by taking responsibility for my actions and by looking for things in my life which I am grateful for. My next step will be to stop complaining, as Michael Hyatt suggests in the post I mentioned earlier. No matter what pain I am going through it is between me and Jesus. I want my life to be one that reflects God’s love and grace and mercy. I want my life to be one that brings praise and glory to my Savior’s name.
My plan is to live my life as if every day could be my last. I believe that will help me to live the rest of my life with no regrets. I want to live as if I am dying, for I truly am, I am dying to Christ every day for the rest of my life.