A few weeks ago I wrote about spiritual warfare and a few of my readers remarked that they are often too busy to be aware of it. I know the feeling. I believe one of the devil’s greatest tricks is to tempt us to relentlessly chase our desires, therefore we become distracted from God’s purpose for our lives. If we become subservient to our desires, they become our main focus; dictating our choices and ultimately, our actions. Not all desires are bad, there are good desires which are not self-centred or contrary to God’s Word. However, for God’s children, all desires must be put in their rightful place in our lives, subservient to the Holy Spirit at work in us.
God knows our days before we live them [Psalm 139:13-16]. This implies He knows all the circumstances and choices we will ever face and He has an ideal for how we ought to live each day. He will order our steps through all of it if we let Him [Psalm 37:23] but He will never impinge on our free will. Therefore, it is ultimately down to us how we choose to live. As I highlighted in the Spiritual warfare article, there are no neutral choices in life. Our choices and the actions they produce either serve to advance the kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness. While some of us may be unaware of this truth, I am certain we would all be shocked if God was to reveal the impact of even the most seemingly insignificant decision we make.
These days, I am making more of an effort to review my choices. For instance, are the things I consider important, important to God? How many of my aspirations are self-serving? How many of the things I strive for are down to my own greed or lust? How often do I convert my wants into needs? Why do I find it so hard to be content with what I have? Paul once said if we have clothes and food, we should be content [1 Timothy 6:8]. Why isn’t this the case in my life? There seems to be an insatiable longing for more. Like many of us, I am tempted to spend my days chasing the very things Solomon with all his wealth, wisdom and experience called vain on the book of Ecclesiastes. Deep within, some of us know they are not worth it. Yet the devil is still able to keep us distracted by tempting us to believe that fulfilling our desires for things will give us contentment. So we expend time and energy chasing the perishable while we neglect the imperishable.
Admittedly, life is hard. We all face competing priorities and decisions every day but how often do we stop and ask God what He wants us to do? How often do we check our desires and the motives for our choices? The illusion is that we have no time, we are too busy even to stop for a little introspection. We often struggle to give God even 1% of our day, which is less than 15 minutes because we are too busy. If we aren’t spending time with God, how are we going to find out His purpose for our lives or get our priorities right?
For some of us, even if God miraculously gave us an extra day each week, we would find a way to fill it with our pursuits. All too often we are pre-occupied chasing money, fame, power, accolades, etc. These things are not inherently bad, but when they become the primary pursuits of our lives, they quickly become idols. Is it possible that the devil has tempted us to doubt that God knows what is best for us and He will meet our needs as He sees fit? Do we expend time and effort striving for the things we want all the while neglecting God and the things He has tasked us to do?
There is another illusion that suggests we can do something with our lives more important than the purpose for which God made us. Our accolades, fame, wealth or statuses do not impress God. In truth, they are all meaningless if they aren’t in line with God’s purpose. Jesus once asked a crowd gathered to listen to Him: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” [Mark 8:36-37 NIV]. Have you pondered this lately?
Ask yourself this: “If I died today, what have I done with my life that is of value to God?” Are you happy with your answer? Someone once said that “we are not ready to live until we are ready to die”. As Christians, we must like Jesus dedicate our lives to going about our Father’s business [John 6:38]. It is the only thing that truly matters. However, we must also be aware that the devil will do all he can to distract us from this mission. Therefore, we must make a conscious choice to follow Jesus daily [Luke 9:23].
I am not big on New Year’s resolutions but a New Year is as good a time as any to review our priorities and make adjustments. So, stop and review the things that are important to you in light of God’s kingdom. My challenge to you is this: commit to give God your undivided attention for 15 minutes before you start of your day throughout January. Begin each session by inviting the Holy Spirit to order your day and then ask Him for wisdom to handle the decisions ahead of you. Spend at least 10 minutes in silence, listening and journal what happens.