God, Your Life, And The New Year

Have you ever thought your life was not making a difference? Compared to what? Compared to what you thought your life was going to be or what you see in others? False comparisons and failure to understand God’ providence lead us to believe our lives don’t matter.

Paul, the apostle, tells us that when we compare ourselves with others, we are unwise. He understood the fallacy of comparison. We will do one or two things when we live in comparison to others. We will see ourselves more highly than we ought to think and live in pride, or we will put ourselves down and feel inferior. Either way, it is not wise.

In addition to comparisons, there is another reason we may think our lives don’t matter. We don’t see the value of living out life under God’s providence. We are tempted to downplay the part that we live. God only ask you to live your life in faithfulness to him. There is no evidence in Scripture that leads us to believe that we will receive rewards for great exploits, only for faithfulness. Yes, some are mentioned in the Bible to have done great things, but we are rewarded for our faithfulness. We are to be faithful with the gifts and talents that are given to us–that’s it. The question should not be, does my life matter? But instead, am I living according to God’s order and His call on my life? Am I using my gifts and talents to further the kingdom in my world? Our world consists of our sphere of influence in the family and community where we have been placed. We can ask, “Do I uphold the glory of God in every sphere?” Or, “Do I make Christ first in every place?”

In the process of living life, our lives often get out of order. When that happens you can feel overwhelmed and unprofitable. Remember, you can only manage the schedule of your life, not the outcome. There is something healthy about ordering your life after God’s order that reflects His kingdom.

What is out of order in your life? What can you control? We often fret and regret over things we can’t control. If you are brooding over your past here is what you should do. Own your past, confess it, make restitution where it is appropriate and move on. That’s it. No further fretting let your history be HIStory. Denial and shame will only keep you in your past. Don’t wallow in your past. Learn from wrongs and move on. If you learn something from every setback, you will never be defeated.

If you presently have things out of order, make a plan and start small. I often say the kingdom of God must to come to my closet and my garage a couple of times a year if you know what I mean. Jordan Petterson says, before you can change the world, you must clean your room. Start with your closet.

When I sold books door to door for the Southwestern Company out of Nashville, Tennesee, to pay my way through college, I learned a lot about myself and my attitude. We had a saying, “Selling is 90% attitude and attitude is 90% schedule.” If I stayed on schedule and controlled what I could manage then sells would take care of themselves. I could not determine if someone bought my books, but I could control my attitude by being in charge of my schedule. I embraced the company’s goal of showing my books five times every two hours. I had great sells when I controlled what I could manage. That is a good picture of life. Manage what you can control and trust for the rest. When you are not on schedule with your day, you will feel like your life doesn’t matter. You get the feeling that you are out of order. That is what you are–out of order.

God’s order comes into our life little by little. It is called growing in grace. God is longsuffering in working with us. He convicts us with His word by His Spirit. He will reveal areas that we have not submitted to Him and where we have been doing our own thing. Our part is to take action by merely submitting to His order. You don’t have to be overwhelmed. God often deals with us in the smaller areas of obedience first. Take one step at a time.

Don’t downplay the importance of God’s providence in your to life on a day to day bases. See Him operating in every area. When the children of God were taken into captivity and exile in Babylon, God told them He had a plan and a future for them, but first He said, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:5-7). Notice how important ordinary actions of life were to God. Thes ordinary steps were part of God’s plan for their life. He also told them to not listen to the false prophets that will tell you what you want to hear. In other words, don’t live in fantasy or false comparisons of life as if your life was not enough. He goes on to say, “’When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Vs. 10-11). We often jump to the verse that says, He has a plan for us, but overlook the instruction to live life out by building, planting, marrying and having children. Real life is part of God’s plan as he works out His future for us. Don’t despise the ordinary. God is at work in our everyday decisions, and His plan is being worked out in us. That is why we must honor His kingdom on a day to day bases for our lives.

In your ordinary days, fulfill His great commission by sharing the gospel and making disciples. Jesus said, “Go.” That go is, “as you go about life.” Pouring your life into others makes your year profitable for the kingdom on a day to day bases. Every believer is called to share their faith and make disciples. That is it. The greatness of our accomplishments must involve those two things. Business, family, and all activities must include the commision to share our faith and make disciples. That makes us fruitful in every good work. Fruitfulness in the kingdom is the success.

Your life this year will be fulfilled as you follow these steps of living out your life for Him and the kingdom. No comparisons and no wallowing in the past of what should have been or could have been. Embrace where God has placed you and focus on each day living it with what you can control and trusting Him for the part you cannot control.

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