We all are drawn to things that please us. The beauty of a sunrise. The aroma of a bouquet of beautiful roses. The taste of an exquisite meal. The joy of a treasured friendship/relationship. If we only spend our time focusing on things that please us, we would live a very self-centered world. In the quest for pleasing ourselves, there usually lays the carnage of people behind us that were in the way of or had to be used so we could get what we thought would please us.
I recently watched a secular video about how to improve your life. As I listened to the video, I was amazed by how many Biblical principles were included in the talk without using the Bible as a reference. God’s Word has been with us for thousands of years and the principles that God wants us to live by have been around for even longer. So why do so many want change in their lives, yet they do not want to put into practice the things that will bring about that change. As a general rule, we are seeking immediate gratification without thought of the long term effects.
If we choose to eat dessert or overindulge in a particular item at dinner, there may be no immediate results but over time those additional calories add up to extra pounds that were much easier to put on than they are to take off. So why not exercise the pain of discipline now rather than having to deal with the pain of regret later? We generally do not choose this route of avoiding dessert because we want to please ourselves right now.
God has given us many verses in the Bible that direct our attention towards how we are to live. These directives are not given by God so He can laugh at us and watch us suffer. Rather He wants us to live lives that are not just pleasing to Him, but also will produce for us good fruit.
We could use the analogy of a farmer who gets what he sows. What about the principle of investing or saving now while denying ourselves a short term pleasure for a greater long term dividend. The principle of pruning a rose bush of all the dead growth produces more beautiful roses in the end.
It is the little investment now that reaps huge benefits later in life. When faced with a choice, no matter how small there will be a consequence to that choice. When we say yes to one thing we are saying no to something else.
“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)
If what we say is not truthful or partially truthful, we set ourselves up for mistrust in our relationships. Trust is easy to lose, but very hard to regain. The lies may be “small white lies” but something so small can generate large levels of mistrust in our relationships.
“But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” (James 4:6)
What kind of person do we want to be around? One who is proud or one who is humble? Yet, we make choices each day that support our pride or our humility. They may seem like small choices, but they do add up. As they add up, our reputation will precede us as a proud or humble person.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10)
I am always up for a little bit of competition. Have we ever thought about loving and honoring others so much it becomes a bit of a competition? It changes who we think about. It changes our focus from what we get to what we can give. We all appreciate when we are shown honor and respect. Yet, why do we not do the same thing for others. Do we look for ways to show honor to every person we meet. Jesus did not order the disciples to wash His feet, rather He outdid the disciples by showing them honor and washing their feet. Those that are looking to compete in the honor category do not demand to be served, rather they look for ways to serve.
The list could go on, but I think we get the point. What we invest will in the end not just benefit those that are around us, it will also benefit us. God gives grace to the humble not the proud.
If we say yes to something we say no to something else. If we embrace the pain of discipline now we will enjoy being free of the pain of regret later.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)