Monday, January 24, 2011

Knowing What Really Matters

{Philippians 1:9-11; NLT}
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

A few years ago there were a series of shirts that carried this sentiment: _________ is life, the rest is just details. The blank could be filled in with a number of different things, usually sports, that people were passionate about. Often we live our lives in this fashion. Some live as football is life and others live as if politics were life and still others live as if family were life. We have a tendency to raise both good and bad things to be the focal point of our lives. As followers of Jesus we need to recognize that the person who has made golf their is living a life that is just as empty as a the person who has made crystal meth their life. One maybe easier to overcome and less destructive to those around them, but both can consume a person’s life and passion.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is for knowledge and understanding, for the Apostle wanted his readers to know what really mattered in life. Paul knew that what really mattered in life wasn’t whether or not the Republicans controlled the government, the Steelers played in the Superbowl, or you are still the same size you were when you were in high school. What matters is the way we live. In other words Paul wants to make sure that his readers to live lives that are about bringing glory and honor to God.

This is hard to do. It is far easier for us to abstain from bringing dishonor to God’s name than it is to intentionally bring glory to His name. I think that is where many of us are at in our walk with Christ, we are satisfied with trying not to sin, and we are not all that concerned about actually doing God. We are content with not hating our neighbor rather than truly loving him.

For many of us what is required is living a life that moves past merely intellectual agreement with Jesus to a life that truly follows Him. Here is the point I want you to remember: What really matters is a life that faithfully follows Jesus. That only happens as we are filled with the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May this be our prayer for ourselves and for those we love. This certainly was the type of prayer Paul thought was important to pray, check out Colossians 1:9-10 to see another example.

When we make life about anything other than following Jesus so we can live a life that is actively bringing God glory and honor then we have missed out on the point of life. We may be doing incredible things and we may even be extremely happy, but we won’t be living out our God given design. May God, through the Holy Spirit, bless you with spiritual wisdom and knowledge so you can have an understanding of how you are to live and in the process bring glory and honor to our Creator and Savior.

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