Yesterday we talked about pursuing goals and some great first steps to make those happen. We talked about how God has given everyone a path to walk and it's our job to walk it. Right? Well today, I want to talk about HOW we should walk that path. What does the Bible say about our attitudes? Can we just Negative Nelly our way through life? Will things just happen to us?
Here's what Paul writes:
"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all." (4:2-6)
Read that again and we'll make a list of the things that Paul says we need to do in our relationships as we pursue our goals.
1. Be humble- Don't go bragging about all that YOU managed to do through your own power. It wasn't you. God did it THROUGH you. Recognize that regularly and thank Him for it. Don't be overly proud of yourself.
2. Be gentle- There are people in the world who become so focused on the goal that they plow over anyone and everyone that gets in their way. That's not gentle. Work alongside people. Stop and lend a helping hand when others need you. Don't be so focused on your goal that you forget to be gentle and helpful to the people in your life on the path toward the goal. Most of the satisfaction you'll get from achieving your goal will be found on the path leading TO it. Don't miss out on those blessings because you forgot to look at others in your life.
3. Be patient with each other- Haha, I struggle with this one, but my oldest son has the most amazing patience you've ever seen. He can wait forever for something. He doesn't freak out at anyone for whining or yelling at him or using him until he's taken A LOT from them. Jesus blessed that boy with some serious patience and I can only hope to have half that much in my day to day life. Patience is vital. We rush, rush, rush everywhere forgetting everyone around us. Those aren't people driving cars on the road. They are just cars in our way. We could all benefit from exercising a bit more patience in our lives. Isn't exercise how you build up endurance for something? Isn't that how we will ultimately grow the patience we so desperately need?
4. Make allowance for each other's faults because of your LOVE- This isn't just tolerating one another. It isn't simply putting up with other people because "Jesus says I have to." This is one of those things that Jesus calls us to do almost as an after effect to loving others. If we love others, we will be more tolerant of them. Think about your child for a moment and another child that you don't know. Whose whining will you tolerate longer? The one you love or the one you don't even know? And we're not talking "not yelling" here. We're talking "truly not bothered and wanting to help the child feel their actual feelings." Odds are, you tolerate the person you love much longer than the one you don't know. Loving others helps us do that. If we practice choosing to love others, we can get better and better at truly doing it and loving them through their faults.
5. Keep yourselves united in the Spirit- Togetherness. Get together with other believers. Pray together. Get to know Jesus together. Be united as one body TOGETHER. There are other verses in the Bible that talk about this very idea of being cut off from the body. If you are a big toe in your body of Christ and you cut yourself off from the rest of your body, you are still a big toe. You're just a big toe alone and bloody on the floor. You need the rest of your body to grow and change. That's why God gives us a community of believers of which to be a part. We need one another!
Today, as you continue to pursue the dreams that God has laid out before you, consider the community of believers with whom you are doing life. How are they a part of your dream? How are you a part of theirs? Can you pray for one another? Do you have any skills that you can offer someone else to help them along? Maybe the dream of one of your community members is that new house they just bought and you're an excellent painter. Can't you take time to paint with them? Or maybe you clean toilets like a rock star. Could you help them with that? Maybe someone in your community just had a baby or is going through cancer treatments and you're an amazing cook. Could you take them a meal? Or maybe your gift is encouraging words. Send them a card! Hey, maybe you grow beautiful flowers and you want to cut a few free to send to someone who could use a little brightness in their day!
The possibilities are endless. Remember that Paul says this for each one of us:
"However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ." (4:8)
What is that thing (or maybe several things) that you do that is easy for you? What is the thing that you do in your life that just makes you happy when you do it? Odds are, that's your gift. How can you move forward and not only use it in your pursuit of your own dreams, but also use it to help others within your community to achieve theirs?
As I continue along the path toward my own dream, I can't help but see that God didn't just give me my gifts for myself. He gave them to me to share. And not only that, but he gave them to me to share on this path toward my goal of my dream achieved so that I could find even more JOY right here where I am today. What are you doing to find your JOY today?
I pray that we all find that Jesus Joy in our lives today and I pray that we find ways to use our gifts to uplift and encourage one another today. Be blessed today and don't forget to be a blessing.