In an era where celebrities are worshipped and notoriety is embraced, it’s easy to lose our way. All around me people are taking pictures of themselves, pictures of their meals, pictures of their vacations; their hurts, their anger, their fears. People are posting recycled and repackaged ideas of how to make an impact, how to make a name for themselves, how to find their path, how to feel like they matter.
If I’m not careful, I can find myself looking without seeing. Touching without feeling. Praying without focusing. Or worse, measuring my worth by the world’s faulty yardstick instead of God’s holy and accurate one. And when I do, I begin to feel lost and separated. A has-been, a failure.
Comparison rips at me. Depression beckons at my door, inviting me to retreat into its ghostly space. Anger provokes me, reminding me of every injustice, every pain I’ve ever suffered. If I’m not careful, I begin to choke on the weeds and worries of this life.
Things I must diligently remind myself:
I matter because I am a child of God. Period.
”You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (1 Peter 2:9)
I am wholly and dearly loved. No exceptions.
“God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people.” (Colossians 3:12)
I am forgiven and set free. Always.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
My mind is steered by God because I am his. I will always view things differently because of this.
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject o merely human judgments, for, ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)
This world is not my home.
“For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.” (Hebrews 13:14)
My job is to love others the way Christ loved me.
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)
This job is best achieved one soul at a time.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4)
When I need these reminders, I like to read over the parable Jesus told about the different kind of soils in Matthew 13. My heart is the soil. When it’s hard and not receiving Christ’s word, it’s my job to quit marching along my own path and spend time in his presence through prayer and reading. As I do this, the soil of my heart can soften again.
When my faith feels rocky, God is calling me to break up and remove the doubts and fears that lie below the surface. This allows the roots of my faith to grow deep and strong.
It’s the last soil in the parable that deals with celebrity culture. Jesus says, “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
When worry clouds my faith, when comparison, celebrity and wealth make a grab for my joy, it’s time to pull out some thorns. To replace the irritation with love and truth. To focus less on the financial fruits of this world and more on the spiritual fruits so deeply valued in this life and the next (see Galatians 5:22-23).
I want to be the good soil. Be the one who hears the word of God and works to understand and apply it. To remember that it’s by touching just one life that God will use me to make a difference. It is certainly NOT by getting 20,000 likes. Not by having 45,000 followers. But by touching. One. Life.
That’s all evangelism is. Building the love of Jesus into one person at a time. Genuinely sharing the joy of Christ with them over coffee or tea. Being sincerely myself, not flashing my faith like a bright and blinding light into someone’s eyes. And by not turning off my faith and sticking it in my pocket, either.
If you and I want to have a different experience than the one this world has to offer, we've got to chose to live differently, too. To live in the small, everyday ways that are meaningful to God. Maybe, like me, it means staying away from social media. Or choosing to serve in impoverished areas. Maybe it's something else in which God is calling you.
Just remember-, when following God's leading, we may not make any headlines. Our actions and service may not be Pinterest worthy. But celebrate, we will, because love never fails. Upon arrival in heaven (and on earth), God celebrates with us a life focused on him.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
What is the status of your heart at this moment? Is it hard? Rocky or thorny? Ready to grow and bear fruit? Or some combination, therein? Wherever you find yourself, consider Jesus' words and prayerfully ask how you can grow through this next season. I invite you to read Galatians 5:22-23 and pick 1-2 fruits of the Spirit in which you can step more fully. Then, look for practical ways to implement that quality in your day-to-day life.
I would love to pray for you about this, so please consider posting what you'd like to grow in, and I'll join you in asking the Lord for it!
Lord, breaking up the unplowed ground of my heart isn't easy. Thank you that you don't ever expect perfection or performance from me, just a heart that is in love with you, and always ready to serve others. May I continue to grow to become more and more like you, loving people generously. Kindly. Patiently. Amen.
To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to have her speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.
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