“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
–Romans 8:38 (NLT)
I once heard a speaker say, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts.” I thought about this for a long time, and I realized that too often, I was comparing my life with others. They seemed to be so far ahead of me that I wondered if I should just quit.
But then, I realized something else. God had made me unique. If I was made in His image for His purposes, I figured there was no need to compete with anyone else. I also knew that I need to be obedient to God and follow His direction.
Instead of slacking off and quitting when things grew hard, then, this new perspective meant giving life my all and doing my best. I saw that I didn’t have the luxury of sitting back or resting on my laurels. Rather, I had to move forward.
What did that mean to me, though? To me, three things stood out in my life. They are characterized by the words “empty”, “evaluate”, and “empower”.
First, let me tell you why the word “empty” became so important in my life. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing, and “nothing” sounds pretty empty to me. Instead of pretending to be full and have it all together, I decided to agree with God. I found that it was only when I let God empty me, that His presence became a greater reality in my life. This, in turn, led me to a greater sense of joy.
During most of my life I looked at others and put them above me, but I decided to try and keep my focus on God instead. Just like that, the Bible became more alive.
Trying to look to God has also given me a greater sense of freedom. While Jesus said that we can do nothing without Him, He also said that we can do all things with Him.
Unfortunately, the pull of our world is like the strongest magnet. In order to keep both of these attributes alive, we must “evaluate” our lives on a daily basis. Since each step we take on the journey of life is new to us, we need God’s loving and protective presence to go before us.
Picture a blind man walking along with his guide dog. He can only find his way around because he stays in contact with his dog. Our relationship with God is similar, but unlike that man who has to carefully evaluate and reevaluate his environment, we often don’t focus on constantly measuring our lives by God’s Word. We stray from Him, and all the while we’re wondering why we can’t find our way alone.
But just like that man who is empowered by his dog, we can be empowered with a new confidence by allowing God to empty us. then, by evaluating ourselves by God’s Word every step of the way, we will be unshakable. We will have the freedom to move out in God’s direction, and the joy to hold our heads up high, whatever life brings our way.
Lastly, the liberty and joy we will find by living a Christ-centered lifestyle brings us His peace, which passes all understanding. True peace is a commodity which men have searched for from the beginning of time, but we will never find peace apart from God. As sinners, we cling to what we think will bring us happiness in our lives. Instead, we should build our houses on the Rock, who offers us a life overflowing with His peace, freedom and joy.
I pray that you will either draw closer to God today, or begin following Him today. If you haven’t come to know Jesus yet, I encourage you to begin reading His Word so you can get to know Him. Then, prayerfully ask Him into your heart, and repent of your sins against Him. Then, you can allow God’s power and His persistence to begin changing your life in wonderful ways.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.