God has had me in an observation mode for most of my life! I guess I’m one of those so-called people watchers. It has been both a pleasure and a pain as it always tetters on the edge of judgmentalism. In my early years, this was not a problem because everyone judged everyone else, but as I got older, I found that people had different attributes in their lifestyle that were pleasing and desirable, while only occasionally displaying traits of self-indulgence in an uncaring manner. In my early years of fatherhood, I discovered very quickly that I contained both traits and had little control of either. I became that bull in the China Shop! My life was upside down and total chaos, but I noticed a few co-workers who seemed to have it all together, they’d discovered something I didn’t have.
I discovered in my people watching that few people take their lifestyle seriously. Many of those with an undesirable lifestyle are selfishly clueless as to the power it has over those closest to them and how far outreaching it becomes. Our numbers are multiplying for those who believe in the concept of don’t do as I do, do as I say and that just doesn’t work, it never has. I feel comfortable in saying everyone above the age of ten has heard the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. That being said let’s give this a new twist and ask, “if a single picture is worth a thousand words, how many single pictures are there in a lifestyle over a lifetime? What are we saying to the world through our everyday living?” Ephesians 4:1-3 (NLT), 4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. Strength is found in numbers, find yourself a crowd of believers!
I can remember and still to this day see people walk into a church that they have attended for years, looking like they lost their last friend and sadly that is the same look they go out with. Another noticeable trait of many churchgoers is they will leave the church all happy, smiling, and shaking hands, then go to their favorite restaurant and give the wait staff a hard time. I’m warning you all, your lifestyle speaks volumes as to who and what you truly are. I have this little saying that God gave me in one of my darkest moments and it goes; “You’ll never come into the presence of Jesus and walk away the same, because Jesus is God’s agent of change!” God impressed on and in me to change for the better I need to reside in His presence. This is one of those times when you seriously had to know me before Jesus, to appreciate the miracle He performed in me. Look at Ephesians 4:20-23 (NLT), 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus doesn’t instantly take away the evil within us, God allows us the opportunity to replace anything (thoughts, habits, etc.) that is undesirable, with things of spiritual maturity and integrity.
I can attest to the fact that a sinner has no joy, as well a hypocrite lives in total misery, and the barer of each is displayed by their lifestyle. The pictures of their lifestyle shall bear witness to that which fills their heart. As I’ve heard my pastor say many times, man (by default) cannot live contrary to that which he believes. Which could be a sermon of its own merit! Our lifestyle is our legacy open to individual interpretation by those we’ve encountered throughout our lifetime. What is our picture saying to the family, friends, neighbors, and world? Do we like what we’re seeing or better yet, does Jesus like what He is seeing in our lifestyle? Take a few minutes to mentally look at your selfie (your lifestyle) to see if you approve of what you’re showing the world. Is it a photo that displays a lot of Jesus or is it all self, that you, see? The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT), 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
My prayer: Father God help each of us to grasp Ephesians 4:30 (NLT), 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Lord, I ask that your vision for us always be in our view and, that you will continually guide our thoughts toward you. Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!
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