We live in a very prideful generation, and I’m not only referring to millennials. We think we know everything. We look to be affirmed that we know everything, and anytime someone else speaks, their credibility with God has to first be proven. We don’t always realize it, but even when someone reprimands out of love, our first thought is, “& how is <insert problem> working out for you? Yeah, please don’t try to advise me. Thanks.” (Clearly, we don’t even want to THINK about someone reprimanding us that isn’t saved!)
I love reading a story in Matthew 16 where Jesus is being tested. “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’ So he left them and departed,”(v. 1-4)
Every time I read this, I’m always amazed that although they were looking in the direction of revelation, they only ever saw the weather. Sadly, this is how we are sometimes. We’re looking towards God, but we’re so busy trying to prove “what we know” that we’re missing the bigger picture, and “what we know” is so irrelevant in comparison to what God wants to show us and do through us. Let us not be a people who look to the hills where our Help comes from, but walk away with limited vision. He desires our hearts to be whole so that we can capture the hearts of those around us.
“A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” (Proverbs 13: 7 MSG)
I LOVE this verse. It is my favorite verse lately. Recently, I’ve found myself to be one who moves so fast that I am always doing before I have a chance to process. This past week I had an event that really slowed me down, and in the slowing down, I have found so much of God. I never realized that although the things I was doing were good things, they may not have been God-things for the season I’m in. & what I’ve found is that there are a lot of believers who live from this place, as well. Satan’s greatest weapon for our generation is distraction, and he doesn’t necessarily need to attack our finances or our relationships if he can keep us distracted from God. We’re distracted by our social media ministries and following, our cool titles and positions, and our likes from people we don’t know & who do not know us. We literally thrive off of building a life to impress people who probably pray for us less than they think about us (I’m sorry. That sounded really harsh, but think about it: How many people are you praying for that you follow?) We have based work ethic and self-worth on our levels of exhaustion at the end/beginning of each day, and the truth of the matter is that there is nothing cute about exhaustion when we’re called to live from Matthew 11: 28.
“If you want your life to have impact, focus it. Stop dabbling and trying to do it all, do less. Prune away even good activities and do only what matters. Never confuse activity with productivity.” -Rick Warren
“I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3: 13, NLT).
Fear of Missing Out.
“The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a lie from the pit of hell against the character of God. This lie says the same thing that the serpent told Adam and Eve – ‘God won’t give you all you need and want. You need to take it into your own hands to make sure you don’t miss it.’ It’s fear. Anytime fear is your motivator, your life will be marked with anxiety, worry, self-reliance, and striving. None of these were present before the fall or in God’s plan for your life currently.” –Moral Revolution
A few years ago, I remember hearing a woman speak about having a pioneering spirit and it stuck with me. Can you imagine being the type of person who is willing to tread upon new turf, and do something that no one has ever done? Exciting, right?
But, would you do it if it required you to walk away from the crowd?
What if (outside of the Holy Spirit) you had to do it alone?
That’s where we find our issue.
So many times we want to go all in with God, but not at the expense of missing out on what’s going on in everyone else’s life. This sounds funny, but how do we measure our growth if other people aren’t around? We look at the highlights of someone’s life and if our lives don’t measure up, we shift whatever needs to be shifted to stay relevant.
At the sake of our callings, we’re willing to shift our focus so that we don’t miss out on what culture is doing right now.
But God is calling us away from the crowd. He’s calling us away from the noise. Rick Warren says it SO great, “Those who follow the crowd often get lost in it.”
I love how God proves that when we’re willing to come away, He will tell us the secrets of Heaven. “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 16: 15-17, ESV). Peter was walking with Jesus while looking to the Father. Can you imagine how close Peter had to have been with God to have the revelation that His friend was the Son of the living God?
God has awesome secrets to tell, and things that we’ve forgotten that He wants to remind us of.
We just have to humble ourselves. A person on their face can’t stumble.
We have to focus our lives. Again, “A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” (Proverbs 13: 7 MSG)
& we have to know that God is good. We’re not missing out on anything, “…God, who richly provides us with everything we need for enjoyment,” (1 Timothy 6:17)
“Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” – Edwin Hubble Chaplin