Have you ever had a moment of clarity? A moment where you suddenly get a deep understanding of some truth that’s been otherwise out of reach.  Often, there is a flash of pain involved.  Maybe, you are trying to break a nut loose on your truck. You are applying force and the moment that the wrench slips, you realize, ” I could get hurt”. Then “BAM”,  you bust your knuckles on something.  This clarity works the same way in our spiritual lives.  Doing what God says is right, starts with thinking about and understanding what God has said. 

Ephesians 5:17 (NLT) Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

What Does God Want Me To Do?  Be Happy? Be Comfortable?  Be Entertained? Paul spent a significant portion of his ministry in jail. All of the Disciples were killed for their faith. First-century Christians had their possessions seized. They were kicked out of the guilds and unable to get work. And, many of them also died for their faith. God’s own Son was crucified.

People often tell me that they believe God wants them to be happy, which is true. But they make it an excuse to walk away from a tough situation. That is not true. Our happiness cannot depend upon our circumstances.

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Proverbs 18:2 (NLT) Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

We must move from consumers to Disciples. It has become very American to shop for churches as we would a new car. We look at our church as a place to get what we need. It’s not that we don’t have needs, but we might not know what the needs are. We don’t need someone to take care of our kids so we can get a break. We need someone to help us disciple our children to follow Jesus. We don’t need someone to spoon-feed us devotional, encouraging nuggets. We need to learn to search the scriptures ourselves. We don’t need someone to “support” us by enabling our mistakes. We need true Christ-followers to help us keep to the narrow path. This is not meant to be harsh or critical. However, we must challenge assumptions of faith that are very “me” centered and foreign to Jesus’ teaching.  A modern faith that ignores Jesus’ teaching while claiming to receive His grace is comforting but false.

Intentionally Run The Race

Ephesians 5:17 (NLT) Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

Ready! What race are we running today, God’s Race or the Rat Race? We get to choose our race each morning. We either intentionally set our feet in the blocks of God’s Race, or we aimlessly meander onto the hamster wheel. We check our email, fall into our feed, we get sucked into the vortex of our lives with little or no intention. We spend a lot of time stressed by unkind words, insulting posts or angry and hurting people. We cannot see the bigger picture because we are looking at the world through a MIRROR instead of through God’s Word and the Spirit’s Interpretation.

Jude 1:10 (NLT) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction.

Jude was not being rude in this scripture. He was simply describing the unbelieving heart of Man. What makes mankind unique is the image of God he is created in, an image that was intended to live in relationship with God.  Without that relationship, man’s behavior isn’t that great. 

Don’t act thoughtlessly. No more wandering into the next moment, relationships, job, etc. Live with INTENTION. KNOW that you are in a race. KNOW that you are in a war.

Set! Get your running shoes on. Get your combat boots on. Start the day with Him and expect Him to show up during your day. Pray. Listen to some good God pursuing music. Get your game on. Get your FOCUS.

Expect to receive and execute directions from Heaven. Expect to hear from God today. Mission control is sending out the directives. God is in heaven coordinating efforts to rescue the perishing. GOD IS SPEAKING. And, GOD doesn’t just talk to hear Himself talk. Plan to respond to His voice.

GO! Take off. Do something. When you drive by that couple with the sign, don’t just think, “I should stop.” Actually STOP! If you think of someone who needs an encouraging phone call, CALL! Send a kind message.  Text a prayer.  Help a friend.  DO SOMETHING! You can bet your mortal enemy will not miss a chance to cause pain. What if we didn’t miss a chance to birth hope?

We live for the purpose of making much of Jesus and the Gospel! The hope of this broken, sin-sick world is in your heart and  in your hands.

Romans 10:13-14 (NLT) For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?

Which Race Are We Running?

Doing what God says is right starts with thinking about and understanding what God has said.  Have you come to terms with your sinfulness, God’s justice, and God’s grace? Have you discovered those tears that lead to such amazing joy? 

Are you in the Rat Race or God’s Race? Are you running to win, with intention and focus? Or, are you just circling the drain of your own life? If that’s you, then you need to follow Jesus as your Master and Commander today.