We are well into the new year, a time to reflect and make goals for what you want or think the future should be for you. We can get so focused on the moment that it can be hard to see the change. Today, I encourage you to step back and take a look at the big picture. If the New Year’s resolution has already tanked, a big picture look can get you back on track. The last couple of posts have looked at how thorns can help us and how God can use you. But, I think we need to take a moment and look at your faith. Has anything changed?
2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…”. You can look close in the mirror, really close. PK’s gross example had to do with looking close at that pimple. Eeeew. If you’re that close, all you will see is that pimple. So step back and look at the big picture. What has God done over time in your life?
In the end of 2 Corinthians, Paul writes about how he hasn’t burdened people. He has a day job to pay the bills and hasn’t taken money for himself. He’s setting an example. He does this so we can see what a transformed life looks like and so we can use it as an example. He wants others to benefit from his example of living. Mark 10:45 reminds us that, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus came to give, not to take. Paul is trying to live like that as well. His goal is to make disciples. He’s afraid people aren’t getting the message. If our goal is to make disciples, then we need to remember the big picture. It’s not what we get out of it, but what we put into it so others can benefit.
So, have you changed? When you look at the big picture, do you see how God is leading you? It’s messy and hard. You might do all you can for someone and they just turn and throw it all away. It happens. But do you stop? No. You keep going forward for God and trying to make disciples and living for Him. You hear a message and then you don’t let it stop there…you do the message so other people can go through a transformation like you.
Church isn’t about building up programs or empires, it’s about building up people. -PK
You can have buildings and butts in the seats, but it can also be void of heart if the visual of “what a church is” overtakes the real mission of the church. Christians need to be people who are committed to people committed to the mission of the church. God reminds of this in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
How is your big picture looking? Are you growing up in your faith? Are you more concerned about building others up rather than yourself? Are you using Jesus and Paul and other disciples in the Bible as your example? When you look at the big picture, you’ll see living a transformed life is not a straight, flat path. Rather, it is hilly, with detours and circles no doubt put there by the one who knows just what you need. I encourage you to look at the picture and map it out if you need to so you are not discouraged by what you think doesn’t matter or hasn’t helped. Instead, I hope you will find that your life has transformed and that each day presents new ways of building people up in God’s love.