Monday, November 27, 2017

Brick by Brick

Foundationally speaking, our life starts with Jesus. The ultimate goal of course is to end it that way, too. The question we have to answer is how are we working towards that end. 

When I first saw this verse in the devotional app I read, it was talking about business specifically and that when you start a business you have a lot of groundwork to do. However, Michelle Myers clearly states that the groundwork laid can never replace the foundation of Christ. So, if as Paul says immediately preceding verse 11 that we are to be careful how we build (v.10) because everything will be tested by fire (v.13), then we have to consider the materials we are using. This is where the implications get much bigger.

It's no secret that I have a struggle with weight. Why? Food. Flat out. I heard our pastor recently talk about his healthy changes and that they weren't based on restrictions or following a certain plan, but that he had to decide what was enough. I thought about that a lot yesterday while at a friend's house waiting for her to get off the phone. This is what I determined:

What is enough? Jesus
What is extra? Anything
What is overkill? Everything

Think about it. If we apply that mentality to our food selection we can clearly see our patterns. If Jesus is enough to satisfy, then a simple piece of cake or a cookie is extra and a blessing. Beyond that, it's overkill. I'm talking of course about the holiday buffet of desserts that always materializes after dinner or a party. Any normal day, one dessert option. Holidays? Bring on the bakery itself. Of course we have to exercise self discipline, but that's the point. We have to know what is enough.

Now back to the original thought. We have options as to how we can build up our arsenal on our foundation to release the chains that hold us bound so that we can run without being hindered. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Are we going to go for quick fixes and fad diets or are we going to look for the quality materials that display the power of God and the glory of Jesus?

If we start with the foundation of our faith, Jesus Himself, and then work to build up from there, then the resources we choose should always have at their core a desire to help us seek God first and foremost. Anything that promotes selfish ambition or vanity is probably not a good idea. Why? The changes are based on the temporary not the eternal.

Take for example the idea of giving up something for Lent. The idea is to show a sacrifice like Christ showed a sacrifice. But our giving up knowing we get to go back isn't really a sacrifice at all. It's a temporary restriction. Ouch. Or mabye the idea of getting ready for summer, a class reunion, or a wedding by doing some cabbage soup eating plan knowing that once we've reached our goal of being able to impress our intended audience we have no intention of continuing said plan. (I can say this because I have experience with it. Not the cabbage soup diet, the mentality that thinks this way.)

Please keep in mind that this doesn't just apply to food/physical health. This applies to the horrid articles that talk about how to spice up a marriage, the way to get our kids to do exactly what we want, and how to increase our portfolios dramatically. Quick fixes are everywhere and available for anything and everything we wish was different about our lives. But the sad truth is, unless the heart changes, all we are doing is behavior modification that only lasts until the fire comes and destroys whatever faulty materials we used to build up what we wanted. (By the way, I won't be walking much today....I'm dizzy from hitting my head so many times on the table and getting my toes stepped on.)

I will grant you that moving forward with this has to start with prayer. We have to beg God for the new hearts we so desperately need to quit buying cheap bricks and using shoddy labor. We are meant to live lives worth of the calling we have received but we can't do that if we are continually relying on cheap imitations of the real thing. Instead, let's remember that everything we need we have in Christ, and then start intentionally looking to see how He meets the needs we have. Perhaps if we can do that, we'll see everything He gives as grace to move us along the way.

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