February 10, 2016

What "Really" matters?

The new year brings with it many varying emotions, thoughts and reflections.  Some of them good, some of them full of regret.  

This new year has been no different for me, and the whirling of my mind has produced some of the hardest days full of sorrow and repentance, and the opportunity to begin again.  A blank slate of 365 days spreads out before me as I stand at the brink of another year.  And it has me asking some important, yet difficult, questions.  

One of them which I have turned over and over in my mind is the question of importance.  "What really matters"?  And am I doing that really important thing

I have filled my life with many useful and worthwhile activities since childhood, my mother made it of utmost importance that I learn to cook, clean and keep house.  And I had school book work to complete in my younger years, lessons to finish, chores to carry out, and bible study and prayer time.  Any extra time I had was spent in reading, playing outside, writing pen pals, or going places either on my own, or with my family.  All of those things served their purpose to form me into who I am today - a practical girl with hands on experience in the realm of everyday life and work.  

As an adult with some experience in this world I am interested in knowing if what I am doing with my life is what God would have me do with it, or if I am leading a purely selfish existence.  So I have been taking stock of my days, my activities, my job, my ministry work, and my household obligations.  

First off, let me run across the phrase which I began with earlier: What REALLY matters?  And why does it matter?  Or to whom does it matter? 

Something I have tried to do since I was about 18 or 19, is to live with an eternal perspective, realizing that my life here on earth is a short time of faithfulness testing by God, to see if I will prove who I say I am (I call myself a Follower of the Way - Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, a Christian), but does my living prove these words, or disprove them, or show a muddle of some combination of the two?  

Jesus said some stern words to people who claimed to 'know God' and yet their life's fruit showed otherwise: 

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."  Matthew 6:24

This passage has played in my mind since January 1st with persistence to the point of irritation, but God was using it to prod from me a satisfactory answer to something He needed to know about my heart's direction.  "Abby, do you really love Me?  Or does your life show that you only use Me as a way to get good gifts, and answered prayers"?  And so this struggle has gone on for over a month now as I have been sorting through the stuff of my life, trying to come up with a good response.  

What I have found is that I have let my first love burn low, to the point of neglect.  My prayer life, my devotional life (bible study and meditation), and my speech life have all suffered terribly from this neglect, and I have sunken to a point of spiritual stupor and weakness. When I pray I feel no power, and my fervency has waned.  Even though I have been reading the Words of life, I have not been applying them to how I live.  And so in my speech, the words of kindness, patience, grace, and respect have been missing from my vocabulary.  

I have been distracted by what man thinks is important to attain in this life.  How I dress, or look, or if I am liked has been on my mind, instead of asking "what would Jesus do"?  I suffered a time of turmoil, emotionally, due to the results of my neglect and laziness. But God used it as a chastening, well-timed discipline, to redirect my gaze to His face and to remember what is truly important. 

So I am taking stock of my life and finding those areas which need to be dealt with, and doing something about them.  As my teacher in my counseling course said:  "something can be changed today."  

My resolution is to "become in my day by day living what I am in Christ."  And to grab ahold of what really matters in this life with both hands, and not let go. 

Will you join me in treasuring what Christ treasures?  Will you come with me on this journey to becoming more holy, more pure, more Christ-like - in obedience, in faith, in conduct?Jesus calls us to come and die, but through our death to our selfish desires, to truly live.  He calls us to abide in Him, in the Vine.  To take and eat of His flesh and find life.  These are the things I must do in order to do what really matters for Eternity! 

"But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."   Colossians 3:8-12 

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