There are many voices in the world, each leading in a different direction and seeking to persuade us to follow. There are many occupations in the world each laying claim to our time and attention. There are, you guessed it, many preoccupations in the world, each jostling for supremacy and primacy. Competition is intense over the things that make up our lives and structure our existence, our time, our money, our love, our gifts; many gods clamouring for subservience. So we must choose, and choose we do, but not always rightly.
With characteristic wisdom and insight, inspired by the Spirit, the apostle Paul informs the church at Colossea that he prayed continually for them that they may truly know what God wants, that they may be soaked in wisdom and have true spiritual understanding in abundance, so that they may know what is of real value, so as to change their lifestyle and adopt a lifestyle that pleases God. (If you think that is a mouthful, try the original).
The outcome being that their lives will yield positive fruit and they themselves will become much closer to God.
This then is my continual request to God for myself and the people that I lead; that the clamouring din of a godless system will be but a distant echo to us, while the sweet voice of the Spirit will fill our beings making us sensitive to and capable of seeing the value of those things that truly matter and devoting our time, money, attention to them.
So often believers get lost in the business of living from day to day and temporal things become their sole value and the sole basis on which they relate to God. True, often situations swamp, people, circumstances loom large and resolving these issues become the primary goal of life.
Worries, pleasures, vacation take up an inordinate amount of energy while the major things of human existence are relegated to the periphery and often are not even on our radar. Not now, not yet, can’t manage it, can’t afford to, it’s not a good time, there will always be another opportunity, God knows what my life is like, etc, etc.
Yet that day never comes because so long as we are willing to be distracted from the purpose we always will be, at great peril to our own souls.
We picture God as smiling benevolently as we busy ourselves with everything but Himself and His kingdom. I think not. Some will say, well God knows I have needs. I am sure He does, afterall Jesus explicity stated « seek first the kingdom of God and it’s righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you», while adding that it is the godless who consume themselves with ‘these things’. But the reason we do is because we do not believe Jesus and because we do not value the things that God values. Our take is ‘God, add these things to me and I will seek your kingdom’.
What does God value?
God values willingness to see things His way, God values lifestyle change, holiness of life; God values service, bringing people to the knowledge of Christ, God values faith, God values the church, God values HIMSELF. These things matter to God, and when they began to matter to Paul, he gave up his prerogatives and exchanged convenience and comfort for faith, service and God. But because convenience and comfort still matter so desperately to us, the world and the devil keep us busy working at achieving them,
In the meantime we trivialise lifestyle changes, knowledge of God, service to God, commitment to building the church, winning souls, making disciples, those very things that we will render account for when our time here is over; those very things by which God will judge our lives. When someone says they are too busy, too broke, too …. fill in the gap, for such, then they are most unwise, lacking in understanding and a very poor manager of their life. They are treading on dangerous ground and preparing for a future of regrets, missing out on the noble purpose of their existence while wallowing in filth that they call gold wondering why true peace remains elusive.
But, as the beloved apostle says ‘you have not so learned Christ’ and I believe better things concerning you. Somehow it seems to me that the God who made all that there is and conceived that ingenious plan of redemption we have come to enjoy can organise our little lives if we allow Him to and if we accept His roadmap for life. We have taken His word for it and entrusted Him with our eternal destination, how then can we refuse to entrust Him with our transient existence on planet earth.
It behooves each and everyone of us to trust God today and follow His blueprint, to take the time to develop our relationship with Him, and throw ourselves, invest our time, money, gifts into the real business of living – loving and serving God, building the church and changing the spiritual climate of our generation. And that, mark my words, will count for eternity.