Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's Really Important

I have committed to leading a group of junior high school girls at my church for the duration of this school year.  The Lord has me awake tonight; thinking, praying and meditating about many things.  One of which is what I would like this group of girls to learn from me.

The world is teaching them that what is important is being popular, looking a certain way physically, acting a certain way, wearing certain kinds of clothing, having the right boyfriend, taking part in the right activities and/or the wrong activities.

However, what I would like for them to learn from being a part of my group is that what is most important in life is coming to a full realization of who God is, what it means to commit your life to Him, and that there are adults who care about them just for no reason other than that they are who they are.

John 1:18 tells us:  "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him]."  Further, Jesus said in John 12:45:  "And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me."   So it is only when we become intimately acquainted with who Jesus Christ is that we can know who God is.  

Fortunately (or unfortunately; depending on how you look at it) most junior high school girls have not experienced enough of life to know really how hard life is.  They are very shallow at this age for the most part.  Life is all about "me".  Their hormones are a mess and they really don't take the time to sit down and think things through.  If you will study people, you will see that those who suffer hardship in life are, generally, the ones who have a closer walk with God.  Why?  Because they depend upon Him to get them through life's situations.  Those who are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth learn early that Dad, Mom and their money can get them a lot of what they want in life so who needs God?  He's such a party pooper anyway.  Let a hardship - a real hardship like the loss of everything many people experienced in the West Liberty, Kentucky tornadoes this past spring - happen to them, and without God in their life, it is so much harder to bounce back...to be hopeful, recover and go forward in life. 

I hope I can convey to these young women that external things are just that:  external, and with the passing of years become those things become very unreliable.  It is the things that happen to us internally through the workings of God's holy spirit that make a solid foundation upon which to build our lives.  What do I mean by this?  Well hair styles and clothing styles and nail polish and the like change like the weather.  Beauty itself is very fleeting.   Being a cheerleader or a school athlete or Homecoming or Prom Queen passes quickly and when it's over, who even remembers much about it?  I discovered this personally this past summer when my graduating class held its 37th reunion (only our second since graduation).   But when God gets hold of a person, really takes hold, His holy spirit effects changes in a person that can change the world.  When a person is filled with love and joy, peace and patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control, my what they can accomplish!  And not just for their benefit, but for the benefit of many. 

How does one go about teaching this to these young people?   I believe that the first step is having it firmly ensconced in my own mind who Jesus is, what it was that He came to accomplish and what He wants from us as his followers.

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh (incarnate).  God, even though He is GOD, didn't think He was too good to divest himself of his God-hood and take on the form of a simple, humble human being.  Philippians 2:5-9

He was tempted in all respects as we are but lived without sinning.  Hebrews 4:14-16 

He was sent to preach the gospel to the poor, to set the captives and oppressed free, restore sight to the blind and to proclaim the year of God's favor.  Luke 4:18-19

He was sent to die for us.  The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death.  If I sin (you know, like: lying, stealing, loving anyone or anything more than God, coveting someone else's possessions, dishonoring our parents, murder, etc. - and we all have!), my penalty is death.  Because Jesus (God) was a sinless and perfect man, he was a worthy sacrifice to be offered on behalf of mankind.  He paid our debt and offers the gift of abundant life on earth and eternal life upon our death if we ONLY believe in our heart that He is who He said He is, that God raised Him from the dead and confess it with our mouth, we will be saved.   Romans 10:9

He wants our love - all of it!  We are to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  Mark 12:30

He requires us to live justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him all the days of our lives.  Micah 6:8

He wants our obedience.    John 14: 21 tells us:  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 

Look at this list that the Lord God wants for us:  deep love for Him, freedom from sin, forgiveness of sin, abundant life, justice, mercy and humbleness and obedience.  Quite different from what the world teaches:  no God; evolution; if it feels good, do it; self-esteem; condemnation; the rich win; where's your pride?  

When we focus on being all that God wants us to be, love Him with all that we are, strive for justice among our fellow men and women, love giving and receiving mercy;  walk humbly and simply through life depending on God for everything and finally, give our lives to Christ by submitting to him in obedience, how can one not live life more abundantly and freely and joyfully (and with a whole lot less problems)?  Give me peace with God and contentment in life any day over a nice manicure or trendy clothing! 

Pray for me, will you?  Pray that I invest myself in these girls wholeheartedly.  Pray that I can be a safe haven for them in times of need.  Pray that I can show them the love, mercy and justice of God, and pray that I can show them a humble heart and a genuine desire to help them know Jesus better.

Father,

Your Word says that you are my loving ally.  Thank you for being on my side, Lord, and for loving me even though much of the time (in my eyes) I am pretty unlovable.  Help me to love others like that, Father.  Lead me in being merciful and show me how to walk humbly because I have this nasty tendency to walk proudly.   I am nothing without you, Lord Jesus.  I am like grass that has been mowed and is blown about by the wind...here today; gone tomorrow.  But you, Lord, are eternal and the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Thank you that I can rely on you always.  Work through me with these young people, Father.  Show them what you want them to see, teach them what you want them to learn and help me to grow in love, faith and obedience through this ministry.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.



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