Monday, May 6, 2013

Life Is More Than Just A Passing Grade

Back in high school my priorities were not getting good grades. I simply did enough just to pass. Oh, I could have done more. I began as an A student. The work was easy, but I just wasn't into work, so I simply did enough to get by. I'm gonna open up from that raw spot now. I didn't finish school. I was bored with it. So, I quit. After quiting I got my GED rather quickly. I aced my GED and received a scholarship to go to UMSL. You would think the logical reaction would be, sign me up! But no, I did the total opposite. I thought, "Who in their right mind wants to go to college for four years?" Hello, most would have jumped for joy and readied for a career, but not this girl. Nope, I wasn't concerned with school. Again, I was the girl who did just enough to get by. I'm not quite sure where that logic came from. But this is what my young adult life reflected. (Praise Jesus, we are a work in progress!)

I grabbed that GED and headed straight for Cosmetology school! Graduated and began beautifying people with my talents. I loved my job and it was one I was great at, but it didn't satisfy me. Nothing seemed to satisfy me, that is until I became a momma. After that, I no longer did just enough to get by. I gave it my all.

Now, you may be wondering just why would I share that bit of info with you all. Well, it is a great example for how we can at times live our Christian life. How many of us do enough just to get by? We start out excited and on fire. Nothing can keep us down. We are ready for anything. That's how I began high school. I know without a doubt I could have finished with honors, but that wasn't my priority. You can only guess what my priorities were.

I remember being a child in first grade and I was so excited when I brought home a paper with an A on top of it. Oh, I just knew my parents would be proud of me and they were. Oh, my heart soared to hear my daddy say, "Great job, Rob!"

As Christians if we are not constantly being fed we are going to grow bored. We have to be courageous and bold for Jesus. We surround ourselves with people who will cheer us on along the journey. We must find ourselves challenged by the Word. We are going to search for something that fills us and if we are not careful we are going to leave behind everything we know for something that isn't in God's plan for us. I am not so sure we are to ever truly be satisfied here. I mean, after all, this isn't our home. We are to long for more, but while here, shouldn't we be giving our all? Too often, we just do enough to get by. This life holds such beauty for us. Every moment we breathe is a possibility for God to move greatness through us. Every time our feet move on His behalf is an opportunity for our gifts to shine Jesus. We were created for His purpose. That is nothing short of glory and grace. We are His vessels. His very hands and feet. For us to use them for anything less than His glory is waste.

Just as works without faith is dead, faith without works is dead. Pastors become stagnant. Those sitting in the pews do it Sunday after Sunday because they think that it what they are suppose to do. But what happens when your not being fed? What happens when that excitement that was once there is gone? Do you remain just because or do you take a stand and reach for more?

If we are not always reaching for more we are going to miss out on opportunities for growth. This world is our classroom. We have a choice to remain seated and learn or we get grab a hall pass and skip out on what is most important. There are people who are just waiting to hear about Jesus through one who is humble and serving. We aren't to outshine one another. We are to simply to allow Jesus to shine through us.

If I could go back in time knowing what I now know, I would have finished school. Not only finished, but gave it my all. How awesome to receive a scholarship as a second chance! (Which reminds me, we have a God of second chances!) I wish I would have taken it. The Lord yet opened another door for me. A door I chose not to go through. Do you ever look back and wonder what life would have been if only? Now, wallowing in those if only's doesn't do us much good. But looking back so we don't make those mistakes again is life lessons that bring great wisdom.

We are called to do more than just enough to get by. If we are listening to the Holy Spirit, He is going to move us to do great and mighty things. They are going to be things beyond our wildest dreams. We envision our life here on earth, but God envisions more for us. He has called us to greatness and He has given us the greatest example of all, Jesus Christ. What if Jesus would just did enough to get by? Would we be heaven bound or would earth remain our home?

Friends, we are gifted. God has placed gifts within us to use for His glory. Are you tired of the same old routine day after day? It doesn't have to be that way. What if we all just simply changed our attitude? What if we walked with purpose? What if we allowed God's passions to lead us? Just what if we truly lived love? Everything around us would change.

I have been studying the life of Paul. Paul didn't start out so great in the grand scheme of things. He persecuted Christians. He was mean and full of nasty, but the grace of God changed him forevermore. He became a man of God who gave until it hurt. That is a question that will shake us to the core. When is the last time you gave until it hurt?

Paul did more than speak the gospel. His very steps showed the world that there is more. While in chains he shared the Word of God. He continued to love throughout every situation in his life. He didn't give up. He followed the example of his Savior. Where is our example to the world? Too often as we doing just enough to get by, we end up giving up on people. Doing just enough to get by is selfish. I was selfish when I was young. I wanted to do it my way and nothing else much mattered. Sadly, that is the attitude of many Christians today. I'm not pointing fingers, friends. I am right there with you. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, my life is no longer my own, but His. Surrendering my life for the life He created for me is boundless beauty. The sky is the limit when Jesus is leading the way.

Don't we do the same? As Christians we go through the motions. We speak many words, but our actions don't quite follow. I'm afraid living a life by doing just enough to get by is a life lived with regret. I have already had regrets. I don't want to get at the end of my life here on earth and face my Savior with regret of not using up everything He gave me.

I want to wake each day and uncover what He has for me. I want to walk with passion. In every conversation I want Jesus to shine. I want my life to be used up for the glory of God. That cannot be done when I just give enough to get by.

We do this in our every day lives. We go to work only doing enough to get by until the weekend comes and then we are ready to live to the fullest! We go to church on Sunday ready and willing, but then when Monday comes and the Lord is calling, we fall short of moving on His behalf.

We expect so much from others. How can we expect such from those around us if we ourselves are not willing to go the distance and beyond? Friends, it's time to do more than just talk the talk. We are to walk the walk until our feet are tired. As we grow tired God will fill us up as He meets each and every need of ours to complete His will in our lives. After all our Savior gave for us, is it really too much of Him to ask for us give our all?

Until we begin doing more this world isn't going to see the Jesus we preach. Until we get our hands dirty and get sweaty work is doing to go unfinished. We have to be willing to do more. No, it isn't a competition. We aren't to compete with others. We are simply to do all that Christ calls us to do. In doing His will in our own life we won't have time to wonder what Joe or Sally are doing.

It's time for us to have an attitude of, "What's Next, Lord?" If we are busy in His work our minds will be focused on Him and our hearts will settle for nothing less than pure love for our neighbor.

How do we do more? We set aside our life for a life of Christ. We search to have a heart like His. We get in the Word. We surround ourselves with people who inspire us and encourage our walk. Find a church home where you can grow and serve. Most of all we need to change our attitude from loving just me to loving those around me. Find a great study and dive in deep. Seek out a mentor to help you stay accountable to your walk with Christ. Our options are endless. There is so much to be done. We don't have to do everything, but we are called to to do may we do so with a passion and purpose.

Friends, when it really comes right down to it, we are out of excuses. Just as I was little and excited to hear my dad say he was proud of me, I now want nothing more than to hear my heavenly Father say to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Job well done, My daughter."

"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified." 2 Corinthians 13:5-6

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one received the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27




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