One of the hardest things is not being so stuck on myself. From the moment we begin life, we are all about self. We look out for ourselves. We want to be fed. We want to be rested. We want to be comfortable. When we learn to talk, we share about ourselves. Self. Self. Self.
When we have conversations, we go from our youthful days of asking questions and trying to learn to enjoying conversations where we talk about our day, our thoughts, our life. We don’t ask questions so much. We don’t fully listen in conversations. Instead we dominate the conversation and only listen to respond.
The Bible tells us to take an interest in others and to want the best for them. This starts with getting to know the heart of a person. Spend time with the person. Listen to them. Build a relationship. Invest in the person. Get to know about the person and be a part of their life. Relationship building is intentional. As you read the Gospel, you will note that Jesus took interest in people. He invested in people. He didn’t look out for His own interests. He sought out the very best for others, all while walking in faithful obedience to the Father. Today, take an interest. Invest. Love others.
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” – Philippians 2:4 [NLT]
I am not good with directions, hence the reason I love my GPS. Even so, I had to learn some shortcuts for my recent driving. I did this all without the GPS. I stepped out and left the old, familiar traveled roads. It was all about time management. Remember Psalm 90:12. If I spent too much time driving, other things would get neglected, plus my kids would not be happy if I was late.
Taking an adventure on these new paths has been a blessing. I did not feel rushed and I had extra time for much needed things. I was so glad that I did not settle for the old way. This reminded me of the direction of God. Often we like to return to the same old paths, but God doesn’t want us to return to the past. We aren’t meant to return to the old paths. He is doing a new thing. We need to continue along with Him forward, not turning back to where we once were.
Remember, God is pruning you and growing you. The place you were at, you needed to get through. But that doesn’t mean you are to return. Things are different. You have changed. God has a new path for you to travel. After you travel that path, there will be another season, followed by another. God will continue to do a new thing in your life so you can be made into the image of Jesus Christ. Staying on the same old roads will never get you there. Being comfortable does not happen in a life with Jesus. We do not stay in the familiar; we walk into the unknown. Continue to press forward where God leads, moving forward in faith.
Read Ephesians 4:17-24.
Have you ever heard someone complain about the music in church? Have you ever heard someone say they didn’t want to go to a particular church because there was no air conditioning? I know some people who did not attend church because they did not like the music that was planned for that particular Sunday. I know people who skipped church during the hot summer months because the air conditioner was not working. Some people only attend church when it suits them, when it is comfortable, when it fits into the schedule.
Today’s passage talks about God’s kingdom being like a treasure hidden in a field, an awesome treasure that is found. The Message states that “the finder is ecstatic.” Ecstatic. What joy!?! How awesome!?! What a treasure!?!
How awesome it is to have a thirst for God, to want so badly to grow closer to Him. I know people who are so desperate to know Jesus, they risk their lives and travel miles barefoot to get to a church. They have to worry that people will attack them. Some people have their Bibles taken. But they want so badly to know Jesus. There are people who want God no matter what, and then there are people who want God, but do not really want to undergo what it might take to get to know Him. Remember this great treasure. What a beautiful, amazing treasure we each can find.
““God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.” – Matthew 13:44 [MSG]
I always like to hear about good things. I do not want to hear bad news. I do not want to hear about bad things. I am sure you don’t like to hear anything bad either. In Isaiah we read that the people wanted to hear nice things. Not only nice things, but lies.
Would you rather hear the truth or a lie? What if the truth doesn’t sound so sweet? What if the lie sounds better? What if the lie sounds easier or more fun? Isaiah was referring to the people not wanting to hear about what was right, but what was nice to them. Today we can see evidence of this in our own lives.
Look around. Many people want to hear what is nice, what feels good or right to them. Some of the people are content with lies. The lies are better to them. Easier. Sweeter. Nicer. But the lies aren’t right. The lies aren’t the truth. Today, are you asking for nice things or do you desire the truth? Do you want what is comfortable or what is right?
“They tell the seers, ‘Stop seeing visions!’ They tell the prophets, ‘Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.’” – Isaiah 30:10 [NLT]
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” – Philippians 4:8-9 [MSG]
When the temperatures rise, my dog Max likes to be in the air conditioning. Though he comes down in the morning for his breakfast, bone, and a walk, he quickly persuades me to let him back upstairs with the kids because of the air conditioning. He wants to be where it feels good. He wants to be where he is comfortable.
We are told to focus on what is good, pure, and lovely. We should seek those things out, focus on those things, and keep ourselves from turning elsewhere. Sometimes we find ourselves losing our focus because other things catch our eyes. Perhaps the things that are good do not look to help us feel comfortable. Sometimes we are to stay away from what appears comfortable, stay focused on what is pure, and patiently wait for the true comfort that only God can give us.
Comfortable does not always mean it is right. Something that feels good to us may not be good in the eyes of God. Continue to focus on Him. Today, remember these words from Paul and trust God’s promise of peace. Oh, the peace that only He can bring.