Here we have Paul speaking, sharing with us how what he once thought was important really has nothing on life compared to his relationship with Christ. So many times I focus on things that I think are of value, only later to realize it really didn't matter much in the end. When we are young our focus is pretty much on ourselves. Our popularity. Our friends. But as we grow older those things change focus. Oh, we can still fall into that trap of wanting to be popular and wanting everyone to like us and just wanting to be at the center of it all, but now, it's our job, how will we pay our bills and next comes our family. Through life our focus is always changing on what is important to us at the moment. Family should always be a focus. We should always be striving to be that person God created us to be, but what happens when we lose that focus? This world is always throwing things at us for us to fear, worry and stress over.This world is always trying to change who we are. I know when Steve was laid off for almost two years there seemed an endless line of stress trying to attack. We could have dug ourselves in a hole until it was all over, but we didn't. We chose to focus on God and His plan for us. There are circumstances in our life that we can just simply do nothing about. We knew God was in control and we also knew He was going to meet every need we had. Those that He didn't, well, they were not really a need, but a want. And you know what? Sometimes the Lord gave those wants as an added bonus of blessings.
We allow the things in life to take over our minds and lives. Before we know it we are concerned with everything under the sun. It is not how big our house is. Or even what street we live on. It's not about how much money we make or what kind of car we drive. It isn't the restaurants we sit down to dinner at, nor is it the stores we shop in and the labels we wear. It isn't about how many friends we have over or how big our pool is. It is not about our size, shape or figure. It isn't about who likes us and who doesn't it. Does it really matter how big our television is? Does it make us more important to follow those that we think are important? We think about climbing the ladder. But not the cost to our morals. We value those things which should not matter and those that do matter we lay aside, filling our minds and homes with stuff. Stuff that eats away at us. Someone can look at us the wrong way. Someone can cut us off while driving. We seem to think that following a few rules makes us okay. We have the idea of going to church makes us a Christian. Our Pastor, Ben Kingston, always says, "If it doesn't have to do with eternity, it doesn't really matter." He says to let those things go that hold us back from knowing God more intimately. There is much truth to that. We can hold so much in, and put our noses where they just don't belong, thinking we can fix things. But really want we need to do is stay put, stay quiet and pray about each situation.Our Pastor will also say, "If your not part of the problem or the solution stay out of it." If it has no real importance, we just need to let it go. I can't tell you how many times I have carried things with me. Burdens and feelings. I carried hurt and anger over things that just really didn't matter. The only person I was hurting was myself. That other person had no idea I was hurt. I kept it all in and was only making life worse for myself. Sometimes we just need to let things go. We try to hold on to control of things. If we could only just understand we have no control. Life is in God's hands. We have control over our attitude and our actions. We cannot change others. The only person we can change is our own self. And isn't that who we should be focused on? We are always trying to change others. We need to allow God to do a work in others, just as He is at work in us.
Paul was once Saul. As the Lord changed him, He also changed his focus and his heart. Paul no longer saw life as he once did, but he saw a whole new life. A life with purpose and meaning. He now saw the things he once thought so important now had no importance over his relationship with Christ. When Christ is the center of our lives, everything else just fits where it should. When He is our focus, our eyes our set on Him, and all that other stuff? Well, we soon learn that, that is all it really is, is stuff. Our lives should be so centered around Him that everything we do and say is a reflection of our relationship with Him. Others should be able to look at our lives and see something different. Something special. If Jesus is your only friend, then my friend, you are set for life. He is the friend that will never leave you, nor forsake you. If the only love you ever gain in this world is the love of Christ, then you have all the love you need. When we give ourselves to Christ, He will lead and guide us through this life and on to the next with purpose and passion for the real things in life. We just need to throw out all the junk, so all we have left is Jesus Christ. When we accept Christ as our Savior we are a new creation. The old is gone and we now have a new life in Him. All those things that we once thought so very important now just seems silly. When we totally trust the Lord with our life, we will allow Him to set us on the course that was meant for us. I know that when I really focused on Him, nothing else matters. Christ, my family, friends and my church home are all important to me. Nothing this world can offer is worth taking my time away from my relationship with Christ. This world is not my home. It is just a stopping place. Home is wherever the Lord is. He is our treasure in this life. Nothing comes before Him. When we have Christ, we need nothing else, for God fills every need and it is He that makes us complete.
Colossians 3:1-11 "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off you old sinful nature and all it's wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us."