A few months ago my pastor recently asked a group of us to come up our “5 rules for life”. Some people liked the exercise, others didn’t, some found it easy, others more difficult. Personally I enjoyed it and found it really got me thinking. 5 wasn’t enough but I managed to keep it down to 7. Naturally everyones were different, for me they ended up focussing on my particular weaknesses. Anyways, the 7 I settled on were:
1. Always pray, always praise
These are non-negotiable essentials for me. I need connection to God. Sin is inherently self-focussed but praising draws me out of myself and lifts my eyes, to behold something much bigger, far more glorious and beautiful. I was created to praise, I guess it makes sense to make a point of doing what I was designed for. Its not all about me – helps keeps things in perspective.
2. Just do the right thing (especially when it hurts)
One of the most God-glorifying opportunities I have. This is where the rubber hits the road and the world around us sees our faith for what it really is. For me when its hard to do the right thing, its all the more important that I do it.
3. If God speaks, believe and obey – don’t get stuck on the why
I like to feel in control. God offers me wisdom, insight and instruction for every circumstance. The question is do I trust in his wisdom and love for me enough simply to obey without my needing to fully understand why? Do I believe that he truely knows best… enough to let go? Always a challenge.
4. Never base a decision on fear. If in doubt, do it
I am a recovering coward who desires to love better. 1 John 4 paints a clear picture that fear and love cannot exist together. Subconsciously fear paralyzes me given the opportunity and so i’m always striving to recognise how the devil would use it against me to hold me back. It requires me to be brutally honest with myself and my motivations, knowing I exercise courage in the face of fear, not in the denial of it. My perogative is inaction over over-action hence the “if in doubt do it”.
5. Destroy idols ruthlessly, show no mercy
Idols are awful things, promising satisfaction and fulfillment outside of God. Our hearts covet many many things. In Psalm 86 the psalmist prays for an “undivided heart”. I ask for the same. But as God faithfully reveals to me the idols I worship (and they get everywhere!), I must fight against them, fighting always to de-throne myself and to allow God sovereign reign over my heart.
6. Why not me
I can often find myself thinking stuff like “Why should I have to do that?”, “Why me God?”. In sin my heart demands its rights relative to others. However, if I instead turn it round and ask myself “Why not me?”, “Why shouldn’t I do it…” I can have no complaint given what Jesus teaches about serving. I can never serve enough. Another bad tendency I have it to quickly disqualify myself and deny my gifts and abilities. My pastor suggested I should take “why not me” as a reminder not to.
7. Don’t worry, you’re not here forever
This is one of my greatest comforts. Don’t get me wrong, I love life but I groan with creation in longing for perfection. Heaven is up ahead and so even when life can appear to really suck, I can lift my gaze to the horizon I can joyfully slog it out while I wait. Its my inheritance and where my hope ultimately lies. Nothing else will last. Ultimately, its all good! :)