The Best Way

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Are you ever tempted to do a ‘half job,’ knowing that you could do better but settling for just ‘good enough?’  Why do we chose the lesser way?  There are many reasons:  we may be pressed for time, we might be tired, we could be lazy. Or, perhaps, we have forgotten the ‘why’ that caused us to start in the first place.

Paul wrote to some Christians who were leaving the excellence of the Spirit-filled life behind. They were settling for a religion of duty and rules, replacing the pursuit of Jesus and the Way of love.  After challenging them in the strongest terms to recover their devotion, he says “You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience?” (Galatians 5:7, The Message)  They were settling for human regulations and comparing themselves to each other instead of loving Jesus and focusing on faithful obedience.

That still happens to people today.  In a time of desperation, they find the love of Jesus that saves. In their encounter with Him, they are freed from guilt; there is a new understanding of the ‘why’ of life. There is hope and peace.  And, then, as they begin to mature in the Way, the Spirit asks more of them.  He asks them to deal with old habits, to grow in grace, to forgive old debts, to let go of old loves … and some decide to settle for good enough.  They want just enough “Jesus” to have hope for eternal life but they will not hear His call to follow each day. A couple of hours of ‘inspiration’ on Sunday morning is about the extent of their experience of God.  They do not abandon their faith in God nor do they deny Jesus is the Savior, but they are unwilling to let Him be Lord.

Am I describing your life?
Have you settled for a routine Christianity, something you know could be better, but which you are unwilling to pursue with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength?  Here is the paradox – excellence of faith does not depend on you. You did not save yourself from sin and you cannot will yourself to a rich, fulfilling experience.  We come with open hands and a ready heart – offering ourselves to Him.  Oh yes, there are daily choices to make, the disciplines of the Spirit that give God channels in which His living water flows!

We need to take the pattern of the Psalm and understand it for our lives. “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” (Psalm 119:147-148, NIV)   The writer says that he makes seeking God a priority, rising before the dawn. He says he makes it personal, not content with empty prayer, but making it a cry for help!  And, he says that he focuses on the promise, hoping in God’s declaration!

Give God the priority place in your life. Make it personal to your experience.  Know what He promises.  If you do this, you will be drawn on by the Spirit to a life of excellence.

Before you go today, meditate on these words of hope, the word from the Word. Paul prayed joyfully because of his “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  That assurance gave him reason to ask the Lord that “your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, NIV)

Confident in Him, we will live the BEST WAY, with joy and for His honor!

________________

No Longer Slaves

(worship at this link)

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

 I‘m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

 From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

 You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

 Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser
© 2014 Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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