I get a lot of comments from people who read my blog about how I weave God into many of my stories. It seems that the majority of people enjoy it and that it helps them see God in different parts of their everyday lives too.
Over the last 15 years, my life has changed dramatically through my relationship with God. Like most people in our culture, I have many roles that have to be attended to on a week-by-week basis.
I used to compartmentalize my life. The roles were very distinct and tended to stay separated from each other. There wasn’t much of an overlap. Prior to 1996, the roles looked something like this:
(The illustration below is in no particular order of importance.)
I looked at each role separately. I did use some “filters” when dealing with each of these areas. For example, I wanted to be successful in each area. And I wanted to use integrity with the people I came in contact with on a daily basis.
I would put time into each of the roles every week. For example, on weeks when I would go to church, (which wasn’t very often…), I’d go on Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 10:30. That was my “church time.” Soon after I started getting more serious about working on my spiritual life, I added a Friday morning Men’s Ministry, which ran from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. So now I was at 2.5 hours of “church time” each week. Then, my wife Leigh and I started going to a couple’s small group once a week, so that added more time—for example, 6:30 to 8:30 on Tuesday nights. So then I was at 4.5 hours of “church time” each week. My church role was just a part of my life. I thought about it a few hours each week. I think you get the picture.
But then my life started changing. For me this was a very gradual process that took place over several years. For some people it may go much faster. (I guess I’m just a slow learner). As I decided to get serious about my relationship with Jesus and put my life under his control, the way I did life changed. I no longer saw my roles as being separate. I began to see them through a new filter—His filter! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” My life began to look more like this:
I began to filter all of the roles of my life through my relationship with God. Instead of thinking about God for an hour or two a week, I began thinking about him throughout my days. I began praying more often about little things. I started making decisions through the “filter” of God. He started being intertwined into every part of my life. Instead of making a decision on my own, I would consult him first. I started looking at my relationships through the “Lens” of my Father. And I began to do life with more of a “heavenly” perspective.
Things gradually began to change. I began to experience more of the fruit of the spirit, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control”—in all of the roles of my life. Two in particular started flowing more abundantly—patience and gentleness.
I started becoming more of what Stu Weber calls a “Tender Warrior.” I hope that doesn’t sound prideful. It wasn’t me–it was Him! The Warrior part is still there—make no mistake. But God began to tenderize my heart as I began to yield to Him.
Aubrey Andelin wrote a book about Jesus back in 1972. The name of the book was, “Man of Steel and Velvet.” Enough said—that’s what I wanted to become and I prayed for it!
I started calming down. Things that used to annoy me began to not be a problem anymore. I started seeing my faults and other people’s faults through God’s eyes. I started seeing the grace that God was giving me. And then it started flowing out towards others around me. It was kind of strange at first. I guess that as things started filtering through God’s perspective, they also started filtering through God’s love.
Anyway, as I began looking at my life through God’s eyes, this “heavenly” perspective began to grow.
In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ”
God calls us to follow him. Not just on Sunday mornings, but all the time. In Luke, Jesus is asked by a expert in the law what he must do to inherit eternal life. In Luke 10:27 Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Note this point—Jesus didn’t say with some of your heart. He said with ALL of your heart. And not just on Sundays, but everyday!
My prayer is that you choose to make God the center of your life. I pray that you put him first ahead of every other area of your life. I pray that you decide to “remain in him.”