Living the Right Life

Living the "right" kind of Christian single life isn't easy. There are so many levels of pressures and elements to contend with--from loneliness, to sex, to money, to familial obligations, to proper boundaries, to social actions--the list could go on and on. "Living The Right Life" is meant to be an avenue for devotion, reflection and dialogue on those topics facing the single Christian person, whoever he or she may be, no matter what age or level of singleness. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Become

Galatians 3:26-29 NIV

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So many times we are so focused on "doing" that we lose sight of our responsibility of "becoming." We forget or fail to acknowledge the fact that God never called us to perform, He called us to become.

He set forward mandates for our lives that all hinge upon our diligence in becoming sons and daughters in relationship who act because our actions reflect who we are. Instead, our lives as believers have been thwarted into a series of performance-based actions to reflect what we measure as hierarchical levels of feigned kingdom status. We are attempting to act to become (and failing because we are using our own power), when we need to be becoming (accepting our rightful inheritance through Jesus Christ and His word) which would automatically result in successful actions.

Don't be deceived. The gift of righteousness is not a license to live any kind of way. Although my mother and father will always be my mother and father no matter what, their is a certain responsibility I have to honor that relationship with the way I live. The same is even more true with our relationship with God. I "do the right thing" not because it solidifies my relationship with the Father, but because I am a daughter of a Father who is pleased when I do.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you have not established a performance-based salvation system. Forgive me Lord for not focusing on being the daughter or son you have called me to be. I am so grateful that your spirit leads me to living the life that is pleasing to you because that is a result of our relationship, not a contingency of it. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unforgiveness: The Big Blocker

Matthew 6:12 - 15
12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Luke 6:37
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.


We often take for granted the power and freedom that is ignited by capitalizing on the gift of forgiveness. It is a concept that goes beyond the humanly logical standards of life and is uniquely fashioned for those wanting to optimally experience the essence of a whole, healed and ultimate Christian life.

We know without a doubt that we are to forgive. Everyone knows “seventy times seven times.” So the question isn’t the IF’ness of forgiveness. No, the core issue is how we forgive. What does true forgiveness look like?

I know, I know. I, like you, have subscribed to the tiered forgiveness trap. Let me show you.

Tier One: Back to the Future Forgiveness
I guess I will be able to forgive you one day.

Tier Two: Forget-This-Not Forgiveness
I forgive you, but I won’t be forgetting this.

Tier Three: Fear-filled Forgiveness
I forgive you, but I’ll keep my distance.

Tier Four: Live and Learn Forgiveness
I forgive you, but I don’t completely trust you because now I know what you have the capacity to do.

Tier Five: The God Kind Forgiveness, The Only True
You did what?

Our tiered approach to forgiveness is unfortunately often, (with the exception of some extreme situations) a cop out and, fearfully so, a sad method of self-appeasement. We feel like we’ve done what we were supposed to do, saying, “Oh, I’ve done the best I can” or “I tried” or “I’m not God.” But all we’ve done is lowered the standard of God’s intent to make ourselves feel better. We often forget that Jesus didn’t come so that the facets of our lives as Christians would be easy, but Jesus came so that they could be possible.

We fail for one major reason. We depend on our own minimal power to forgive, which compared to God’s empowerment is nothing more than laughable. The key to forgiveness is to realize that the only way for it to happen is by dependence on God’s power working in and through us to do it.

God’s very love sets the standard for our forgiveness. He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9). He said he would forgive us of wickedness and would REMEMBER our sins NO MORE (Jeremiah 31:34b). Sounds like forgive and forget to me…

And not only that, John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave….” God’s fore-giving (giving restoration PRIOR to offense) sets the framework for how our forgiving (giving restoration AFTER offense) is supposed to look. The foundation of our faith is God’s sacrifice for reconciliation. God’s love gift (Jesus) was given to reconcile us to Him. Our vileness merited the need for forgiveness even prior to the reality of our offense. But His love for us carried the burden of restoring us back to a place of wholeness and completeness and unlimited fellowship with Him, independent of the extremity of our iniquity. Simply put: If we repent, we get the gift.

That’s what His forgiveness looks like. Pure. Without resentment. Forgetting the past. Clean slate. Back to square one. (My Lord!) Just like new. Unabated, unadulterated, unlimited. Complete and unconditioned. Reconciled.

We have a long way to go.

Prayer: Lord forgive me. Forgive me Lord, because I haven’t been able to forgive. Forgive me because sometimes I don’t even want to forgive. And forgive me Lord, because I have been depending on my own power to do something that only you can. Father, I want to unblock the power and freedom and faith and forgiveness that has been hindered by my lack of forgiveness. Teach me everyday to grow in your love and your forgiveness and in faith. Live in me, moment by moment, and I will be sure to give you all the praise. In the matchless name of Jesus, who made forgiveness possible for me. Amen.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pennies In My Hands


And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. Exodus 4:2


Mr. Larry, a homeless gentleman, approached me last week on the corner of Commerce and 5th asking for help to purchase some food. Since he did not like the food in our immediate vicinity and I was short on time to walk to the restaurant he did like, I decided to further engage in conversation, hoping to decipher if his desire for food was genuine. Holding out two hands filled with pennies, Mr. Larry appealed to me, “You see all these people in suits and ties,” he said. “This is all they give me—a whole bunch of pennies.”


Looking in his big, soiled hands with dirty fingernails, I realized that Mr. Larry truthfully had a whole lot of pennies. “Well Mr. Larry,” I explained, “pennies can become dollars. All you have to do is wrap them up and take them to the bank.” To which he replied, “I don’t have time for that. I don’t want all these pennies. I want some dollars.”


I reached in my purse and gave Mr. Larry a few dollars. So grateful, Mr. Larry pulled out handfuls and handfuls of pennies and asked me to take them off his hands for him. When I refused, he insisted. Mr. Larry gave me more in pennies, than I gave him in dollars. I walked away with a purse weighted down with pennies. He walked away with two dollars.


Oftentimes, we plead with God to give us something we already have. He has set His kingdom on the inside of us. His word does not have to be retrieved from the highest of heights or the deepest of depths, it is already on the inside of us, waiting to be recognized and utilized.


God has already provided us everything we need to get to where we need to be, it just may not be in the form we want it. We ask for a few dollars when we may already be holding a few thousand. What things have God trusted your hands to that you are overlooking for something that looks or feels like you want it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Overcoming Loneliness

Genesis 28:15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

After a long week’s work, she returns home to an empty house. Seeing as how she lives alone, she sees no reason to cook a full course meal even though she knows she should. Instead, she decides to just eat out again. Alone, she enters the restaurant greeted by the hostess and requests, quietly and sadly, a table for one.

One of the most prevailing emotions among singles is the overwhelming, crippling feeling of loneliness. Many singles view being alone as a reflection of worth; others attempt to cover loneliness by assuming over extended schedules and over committed lifestyles. Don’t be deceived, loneliness is not the same as aloneness; one can be lonely even in a crowd. And let’s not get it twisted, aloneness is in no way a bad thing. Loneliness, however, can be a dangerous controlling agent of the enemy.

The enemy utilizes this feeling to make you believe something other than what God says. You’ve heard those voices, “No one wants to be around you,” or “You’re not worthy or good enough to be with someone.” Don’t allow the enemy to steal your interpretation of this season in your life. He desires to control your thought life so that you are wasting this valuable opportunity on thoughts and feelings God never intended for you. Don’t give license to the enemy to label where you are and where God does or does not want to take you.

Change your perception of aloneness. Know that God wants to utilize your solitude to mold you into independence from the world and dependence on Him. He has set you apart to focus on knowing Him and growing into an uninterrupted and consistent fellowship with Him. Having seasons of aloneness gives you a greater appreciation for relationships and gives you a chance to know yourself. Seasons of aloneness can be powerful chances to learn who you are and who God called you to be. Value the time God calls you apart to Himself as His very own. It might make you feel better when you realize that God loves you so much that He wants you all to Himself.

Remember that being alone may be your reality, but being lonely is your choice. Choose to be happy with just you, God certainly is.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Desires Pt. 3 Lust and Lies


1 John 2:15 – 16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Does a Happy Meal make you a happy? Sounds like a crazy question, but just entertain me for a few more words. Our culture is bombarded daily with concepts and forced perceptions that, when we really think about them, in no way align with reality. The infiltration of these perceptions has been dictated by the world, leaving God’s perception, the only true reality for believers, by the wayside.

Happy Meals may have put a smile on our faces as kids, but as we grow we realize that those nuggets and fries have absolutely no nutritional value. Frankly, the only thing that is happy about a Happy Meal is its name.

Just as we did with Happy Meals when we were kids, so go our relationships. We get so sucked up into a proverbial vacuum of adhering to what the world calls “relationship” that we often end up in situations that fill us for the moment, but contain absolutely no weight in sustaining us.

Think about it. They satisfy physical desires—I eat good tasting food. (Lust of the flesh). They tickle the want for enticing possessions—because what’s a Happy Meal without the toy? (Lust of the eyes) And one gets to feel satisfied that he/she has complied with the external pressure and societal expectation by having something everyone else has—everyone is getting a Happy Meal, why can’t I?(Pride of life). And the Word said that this “is not from the Father but is from the world.”

Let God’s perception by your reality, not the world’s.

Prayer:

Father, sometimes it’s easy to confuse what you want for my life with what feels, sounds, looks and taste good to me at the moment. By the power of the Holy Spirit which resides in me, please don’t allow me to fall victim to the lust of my flesh, the lust of my eyes or the pride of life. Help me discern the lies of the enemies and empower me with your word every day of my life. Thank you Lord for making your perception my reality. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Desires Pt. 2 Just Wait

Isaiah 40:3

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

WAIT: The one word no one wants to hear, while simultaneously serving as one of the most powerful jewels of wisdom known to man. Wait. How often would you or I have been positioned for greater progression or a higher place if only we would have exhibited a little more patience.

Having desires doesn’t make you a bad person. But being in control of the perspective of those desires’ place in our decision-making process certainly can make for a better life. What could you do it Mr. or Ms. Right showed up the day after you gave your all to Mr. or Ms. Make Do? Remember: Decisions based on temporary circumstances will threaten can threaten your future progression and lead to regret.

Temporal circumstances should not dictate permanent decisions. We often give up a platinum future for a plastic present. As emotional beings we often allow how we currently feel—lonely, horny, unlovable, inadequate, tired of aloneness, peer pressured—distort our vision of how our resulting actions will effect us now and tomorrow.

Desires are complicated by time. But we must remember, that God’s scope of time is not our own. We see what is temporal, but our Mighty Father sees what is eternal.

Wait for what He says is yours. Grab on and enjoy the flight! He guarantees you will.

Prayer: Father, sometimes I don’t want to wait. I want what’s mine and I want it now. But Lord, you know what is best for me. And you promised that if I wait on you, you would renew my strength. God, renew my strength. Help me be patient through this process and God, I will give you all the glory for my walk, my run and my flight! I love you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Desires Pt. 1

“And the word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

John 1:14 a (NKJV)

You’ve heard it before, I’m sure, as a single. “You should be happy with Jesus alone” or “God is all you need.” Yes!!! Amen!! I am right there with you. And then, a sudden urge for a hug comes over me.

Let’s face it, our Almighty, Wonderful, Powerful, Omnipotent, All-Sufficient, More than Words Can Explain, God is a Spirit. There is nothing He can’t be for us—a friend, comforter, lover, the list could go on and on. Even He realized, though, man’s innate desire for tangible relational experiences on earth. For this reason, along with having created us as beings of relationship, He became flesh, sending His Only Son to a physical world to relate among us.

So often as singles, we are faced with the challenge of balancing tangible desire with spiritual expectations. Unfortunately, the two have been dichotomized so often, that most singles feel guilty for desiring a tangible relationship. There is a snakeline, unattainable, unspoken spiritual rule that states, “Once your soul is saved, you automatically forfeit your right to desire to a tangible partner until one day you get married and those desires are then allowed to be reclaimed.” LOL!

Rest assured, God knows your every desire. It’s ok. Really. His expectations aren’t for you to pretend you are this superhuman being who doesn’t feel vulnerable sometimes. No, He simply wants you to seek Him first and be blessed by His desired course for your earthly relational state.

Note: Just in case you think excusing desire is equivalent to excusing fornication: Get your mind out of the gutter. You know the Word says “FLEE”! (1 Corinthians 6:18 KJV)

Prayer: Father, thank you for implanting us with desires. Lord, thank you for also, teaching us through Your Holy Spirit, how to channel those desires in a way that allows us to build and nurture healthy relationships that are pleasing in Your sight. Give us insight, Oh Lord, into the areas where we need to improve and the courage to seek you in making those changes day by day. Thank you for keeping me. In Jesus name, Amen.