Last month, I shared with you my heart in what the Lord was teaching me about my focus. How the Lord in Matthew 16:24 urges each of us to deny what we want and follow the Lord’s desires for our lives.
The message is echoed in Ephesians 3 when Paul urges us to have the same attitude as Christ had. That he was obedient all the way to death. Even the horrifically painful death experience of a crucifixion.
This is exactly what our title means. Christian=Christ-like. Striving to step into His footprints in every way. Particularly in our surrender to His will. As Christ was obedient even to physical death on the cross, so I am to be obedient, putting to death my wants and desires.
I hear TV preachers all the time spouting it. “Do you want wealth? Do you need better health? You can have everything you want if you will … blahdee blahdee blahdee.” Where do they get that? This passage (and most of the New Testament) speaks of the opposite. It doesn’t matter what I want. It matters what He wants.
But there’s an irony in that. According to Psalm 37:4, if I delight in what God wants. If I follow that close, then He’ll put desires in my heart that He wants me to have. And THEN, He satisfies those desires. So denying my wants in favor of His wants = receiving new wants, satisfaction, and pure joy. Pretty cool.
That’s why being willing to deny myself (forgetting what I want), taking up my cross (submitting my will entirely), and following Him in obedience needs to be a DAILY practice. And I confess it wasn’t for me yesterday.
My priorities included my kids—but I made them wait, a commitment to a ministry—but I was late, a commitment to this blog—but I procrastinated, and a commitment to my hubby for his birthday—made him wait, too. Instead, I toyed with a project that wasn’t even mine. I dabbled with a few new story ideas. And I did some unexpected shopping, but not at the grocery store like I needed to do.
As a result, my kids are fine. They still love me. My ministry was fine, even fun. This blog is fine, at least I think so. And Sweet Hubby’s birthday, though not what I wished it to be, was acceptable for a regular work-day. But I know the truth. I wasn’t following closely. Wonder what might have happened yesterday if I had.
I wonder if some of those “fines” could have become “exceptionals.”
Your Turn: Do you ever settle for fine when you should strive for exceptional?