Intentional Living: Owning Our Choices
Each day is packed with 24 hours of potential. Moments to invest or spend however we will. Moments that we can waste or moments that we can reclaim with purpose and choices that will build upon one another to accomplish purpose that is beyond ourselves, specifically God’s purposes. When we live rooted in the Truth that “we are Christ’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10) this changes everything about the way that we live. As believers our moments don’t belong to ourselves, truly we don’t belong to ourselves as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price, So glorify God with your body.” As we greet this new year and the excitement of goal setting and prioritizing time for things that fell victim of the busyness of life last year, our measuring stick for what we choose to prioritize and what we choose not to prioritize can flow from these verses and here are some questions we can use to assess whether our values are encouraged by our choices:
Does this activity encourage my family to desire a deeper relationship with Christ?
Does this event encourage me in my walk with the Lord?
Is this situation an opportunity for me to share the Gospel with others?
How am I faithfully teaching a younger woman in my life to walk in faithfulness to the Lord?
How am I pursuing relationship with an older woman to learn from her example of following Christ?
How am I staying busy at home, investing in the family that God has given me?
How am I using the gifts God has given me?
Our lives and the moments that gather together to form them are a gift God has entrusted to us to use faithfully and the choice to use our time for certain things is also the choice NOT to use our time for other things. The choice to accomplish one thing is the intentional choice to leave other things undone. The “yes” we speak in one area is a simultaneous “no” in another area. So in this culture that tells us we can and should do everything, that the things we do should be for our own benefit and glorification and that status, popularity and monetary success equal significance, we can stand boldly together on the example set before us in Philippians 2 and we can be faithful as women to encourage one another to invest our lives, our years, our months, our days and our moments in such a way as to make an impact for eternity. We can choose to invest in such a way that will make much of Christ, that will bring beauty and life and joy to those in our lives and keep Christ and His sacrifice for us on the cross and the unshakable hope that we have in Him at the forefront.
Intentional Living: Taking Up Our Cross
While many of our choices are our own, each of us encounter circumstances in our lives that we would not choose. Maybe we have to work and would rather not, maybe we are struggling with illness and can’t do the things that are the desire of our heart, maybe we are single and would rather be married, maybe we feel buried by kids and commitments and managing the moments of our lives, maybe the choices of adult kids are a source of pain to our souls, or maybe our marriages feel too much for us to handle. In this place Christ’s Words and example in Luke 9:23 are such an embrace to my weary heart: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” He doesn’t give us a picture of the details of our life to tell us what is has to look like, but He tells us that if we are to follow Him, truly follow HIM and not some romanticized version of what we might want to envision Christianity to be, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and FOLLOW HIM. So in this place, believing these Words that He has given us, the hard things in our lives, the things that we don’t know what to do with, the things we wouldn’t choose on our list of priorities-THESE things become the gift. These things become the proving ground for our faith, the place where we stand with the Lord on His Truth and we WALK OUT His Word. We take joy in denying ourselves anything that would not lift Him high. We take joy in taking up our cross. His cross was a source of tremendous pain, a symbol to the watching world of shame and defeat and He remade it into a symbol of Hope for the world. He made it a symbol of victory in place of defeat. And He does that for us as well when we TRUST Him and His Word and intentionally walk in obedience. One step after another, offering up our circumstances, bearing that cross, knowing that He can transform it for His glory. Knowing that the mark of greatest shame and suffering in our life, in His hands becomes our monument of victory and hope as we live out what it means to OVERCOME in Christ Jesus. Not because of our own strength, not because we see the circumstances of the situation change, but because we choose to carry the cross He has allowed, and given us to bear, and trust Him to make it beautiful. As we take up our cross we can cling to it as a source of bitterness in our lives or as a source of beauty and may we, as the Women of Bayou View Baptist Church be women characterized by the beauty of Christ that takes the most desperate of circumstances, the circumstances beyond any earthly hope and makes them a source of LIFE. May we be women filled to overflowing with testimonies of His power and grace and faithfulness and joy.
Intentional Living: Choosing His Glory
This year we have two more meetings for Book Club and our study of “Word Filled Women’s Ministry” and we would love to see you there Tuesday March 26 and Tuesday May 28. At our last book club we ended with a time of sharing our testimonies as a practical application of what we studied that night in our reading and wow! Woman after woman was bold to step up and speak the story that God has given her, as His child, as a unique individual whom He has called to Himself. And woman after woman testified to His faithfulness to never let her go. The night can be summed up by one of the women who said “I have made mistake after mistake in my life and He has never stopped coming after me. He is so good and so faithful!” That night I couldn’t sleep with the heaviness of the hope in my heart. This world is heavy and hard and dark and opposed to God, but “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
So as we step into this new year take responsibility for your choices knowing that you are not your own but you have been bought at a price. Walk in faithfulness in the hard places being willing to take up your cross and follow Him and know that the things we see as death, shame and defeat in our lives are simply an invitation for Him to show us His power by transforming them with the HOPE we have in Him. He never stops coming after us and the darkness cannot overcome the Light that is JESUS CHRIST.