I started a new plan today. I’ve been feeling convicted for far too long to get back into my bible reading and study habits. This plan’s title stuck out to me as it hits directly home with my habits. Here’s a transparent, ugly, generalized view of my typical day:
– Wake up, check social media and news, what happened in the world and how will it affect me?
– Drive to work or begin work from home (I’m beyond blessed to be able to choose where I work from each day, only God could do this for a poor kid from Mississippi). Do I choose a sermon or biblical podcast to listen to on the commute or while I complete admin work? Hardly ever, lately. It’s either news, some worldly topic I’m interested in or music (and rarely God-glorifying music).
– Work all day, maybe get a lunch, interact with a few other self-professed Christians (in unintentional ways) but God, Jesus or anything related rarely ever comes up. Oh, I’m part of the Christian diversity group at my work but never go to our meetings or functions, another “check” in my own pathetic Christian box that I’m not proud of.
– Drive home, pick up kids from school. Work until about 6pm usually, dinner gets made miraculously from my wife (the miraculous part is that she’s still with me, still serves our ungrateful family and whips up the most delicious food, tailor made for all of our preferences (vegetarian, some don’t like this or that, she customized it all and eats last)). Needless to say, we don’t deserve her and she deserves way better but we are too busy thinking of ourselves. The ONLY thing we do that forces us to realize that there are others in this world is that we eat at the table, no tv and no devices although we slack on the no tv sometimes just to break the uneasy silence of no one really wanting to talk about their day unless it’s for the most selfish reasons (me, I, me, I, etc).
– Strict bedtime curfew of 8:30pm. The kids beg for some TV time since they have smart TVs in their rooms (big mistake if choosing spiritual walk with God, easy solution when choosing self). I bend and approve just to get the whining to stop. I turn on American Ninja Warrior for my 13 year old son and Austyn & Ally for my 11 yo daughter. I justify my actions by committing to a 30 minute limit (which I often forget because I get so wrapped up in my own comfort of not being bothered by them for the night) and thinking to myself, “well, there’s probably worse stuff they could be doing or watching.). They typically stay up past the time I would’ve cut off the TV judging by their grogginess and unwillingness to want to get up. Now I’m feeling guilty and likely stayed up too late myself due to my own desire to escape from the world…TVs in bedrooms I have to say are a huge regret.
– Now I’m in bed with my wife and 3 yo son, we do the co-sleep thing which I would never do if it were left up to me and my worship of self. Thank God for my wife and her heart because I deep down know that this nurturing produces compassion and kindness (and probably prevents us from having 2 dozen more kids). But this also produces a bit of dependency where the child is dependent on the need for us, which feeds into my ego. The child does have a bed at the foot of our own bed but I can count on one hand how many times he’s slept in that bed, and that’s ONLY because we put him there after he fell asleep elsewhere.
Well, I think that’s enough doom and gloom to paint the picture as to why I need more of Him and less of me. When it comes to gatherings of my fellow church friends and Christians, I try to wear the costume of a serving, unselfish, read-my-Bible-3-times-a-day Christian but I don’t think anyone buys it. My friends are way smarter than I am and can’t detect the lack of authenticity a good 2 miles away at the very least.
Since putting my faith in Jesus and professing to be a Christian, those first few years seemed to go quite well. I was on fire for God, read my Bible very often, participated in just about every study I could find and really felt good about my “walk”. Then I became confident I knew what I needed to know about God and didn’t think I needed any further study when, realistically, it was the equivalent of a 4 year old going to pre-School and, after finishing the first day, was convinced they had enough education to be independent and no longer require any further schoolin’. That story can be summed up in one word, foolish.
Now, during the midst of all of that journey (and this one too), one isn’t aware of the mistakes and damage that they are doing, at least, not to the full, realistic extent. This is one of Satan’s most useful tools, deception. The past few years, I’ve known I need to do better, that what I was doing was not the life God wanted me to have but, it was all about me and those minuscule milliseconds in time where I would turn my attention and actions to Him, wouldn’t be noticeable to a flea.
So, here I am for the great I AM.
God did the unthinkable to the undeserving and kept me alive long enough to open my eyes to Him as well as bring my focus back TO Him. Death at any time in between might’ve meant a trip to hell for eternity or at the very least, a lifetime of explaining, guess we will eventually see in the future.
But, for now, through grace, I have been given a slap on the head and a spark back in my heart! Through actions that take away from me and focus on service and giving, I have been re-energized! Music, children and outreach ministries have all been impacting me as I serve and leading with a small group of fellow believers had just all been stoking the ashes and keeping the possibility of a raging fire alive! Thank you, God, thank you, Jesus, thank you to the people in my life, my family, my pastor, anyone that helps encourage as a Christian, thank you!!
Now, on to this study. It’s a 3 day study from YouVersion titled, “Choosing Each Day: God or Self – http://bible.com/r/2o3
I figure even I can do a 3 day study so I’m giving it a go, starting small but having bigger plans in mind. I really want to try to keep this study a bit streamlined, not overthink what is being spoken to me and just write down simply what comes to me right out of the gate…let’s begin.
Scripture: Joshua 24 1-15
What do we learn about God?
God is faithful to His seevants, he will lead you to victory.
What do we learn about people?
People are weak, we will turn and fizzle out easily.
Is there a command to obey?
Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness! Joshua 24:14
Is there a command to follow?
With everything, every day, CHOOSE who you are going to follow.
The fire is lit!🔥