You may not like what I am about to share because you think I’ve gone from inspiring to meddling. If so, you’re right. The reason is simple. We are experiencing a crisis of character right now. It’s huge. It’s growing. And it must be addressed right now.
It involves leaders in our government, business, education, entertainment and even the church. But what may be even more painful to admit is that we know how easily it can begin to envelop us. This crisis manifests itself in the use of power for personal sexual pleasure; lying to keep up a façade of respectability, spreading hatred and innuendo about others as a political strategy; and turning money, power and material wealth into a new version of the holy trinity. Cynicism may lead us to say that this is just the way the world has always worked. And maybe it is. But something has changed. So much so, that it seems that any notion of a hopeful future is disintegrating right before our eyes. That’s why this is the time to get serious about God. Not just by acknowledging that some generic God exists or calling upon that God to bless us the way we want. But by getting over our need to be in control of our lives, and instead getting absolutely serious about God who created us, loves us unconditionally, calls us to live in relationship with Jesus Christ and invites us to share the heart of God with the world. Of course, we all know this is not something that will magically transform everyone and everything right away. But the fact of the matter is that it is the best place I know to start.
What will people see when they look at you today? You probably assume they see all the things you see about you – what you don’t like about your physical appearance, the pain you’re acutely feeling and every mistake you’ve ever made. But what if you choose to let God’s unconditional love become the lens through which you see yourself? Believe it or not, people will see God in you. And that would be a nice gift to share with others today.
It’s depressing when you take an honest look at the world – whether it’s your world or what’s going on half a world away. Terrorism, addiction, greed, war, hatred, injustice, illness, starvation and suffering seem to define life. But God wants you to see this world in a new way. How God is truly present. Moments of amazing grace. Signs of powerful hope. So as you look at the world today, what are you going to see?
You work hard to have a credible faith in a world where too many people talk about God in ways that make no sense. But be careful you don’t spend so much time trying to make sense of God that you end up making God a whole lot more about you than making you about God. Instead, strive to see who God really is and what God is really up to. When you do, you’ll see God, yourself and your life in a brand new way. And guess what? You’ll really like the new view.
I’ve realized something. It’s not something new. It’s something I’ve figured out before – seemingly over and over and over again.
But it’s hit me in a new way the past several days. It’s how easily I get distracted from You. And how even more easily I make it all so much about me that I have nothing left for You. Not my heart, hands, words, time, energy or money.
So help me turn me upside down and focus on You. On Your reality. Your unconditional love. Your passion for reaching out to me. Your vision for the world. Your purpose for my life. Your joy that comes as a gift. And Your hope that keeps growing and growing.
Yes, Lord, help me start with You. And, then, help me live for You. Today, tomorrow and forever more.