Spiritually Mature People Focus on God rather than Themselves

me_timeContinued from here.

Another aspect of making God your #1 priority is focusing on Him rather than yourself, which is another sign of someone who is spiritually mature.

What is your least favorite type of music? Let’s say your pastor announces that next Sunday’s service will feature a musical guest performing that type of music. A spiritually mature person would joyfully attend the service, grateful for all the wonderful ways that God has blessed him or her. Spiritual children would sleep in that Sunday because they don’t want to hear that type of music, even when it is offered to glorify God. Where do you fall on the continuum?

Spiritual children complain about the aspects of a church service they don’t like: the sermon was too long, they didn’t like the song selection, the church has communion too often (or not often enough), etc. They behave like consumers, expecting the service to cater to their desires and preferences. In contrast, spiritually mature people don’t look for the church service to adapt to their own preferences but, instead, ask what they can bring for God. They look for ways to honor God and express gratitude for being able to spend quality time with God and their church family, even when the music, preaching, etc. may not be their personal preference. The underlying difference is that spiritually mature people view the church service as an offering to God, not to themselves.

I had the joy of attending Easter mass outside of Venice, Italy in 2016. I don’t speak Italian, so I did not understand one word that was said. I am not Catholic, so I was excluded from taking communion. And because I am not Catholic and don’t speak Italian, I had a hard time tracking what was going on when throughout the service. Nevertheless, attending Easter mass in Italy was well worth my time, not because I got much out of it but because I had the experience of prioritizing and worshiping God, which was the value of the experience. In fact, everyone who attended with me seemed to get something out of the experience and was grateful we went. Nothing in that experience was about myself – it was all about God.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace reading a book under the words, “Me time.” Courtesy Bitmoji]

 

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Is God Really Your Top Priority?

no_timeI am stepping up on the soapbox this week, so be forewarned…

Is God really first in your life? If you are a Christian, your immediately response is likely yes, but is this really true? Or are you lying to yourself? Christians can be deceived, so don’t assume that just because you are a Christian, you are prioritizing God.

I was saddened and, frankly, astonished to learn in one of my Divinity School classes what a small percentage of people in ministry actually spend quality time with God on a daily basis. I would have been disturbed by the statistics I heard if it was about laypeople, but people in ministry?? Seriously?? How on earth do you spend your days serving God without first meeting with, fellowshipping with, and enjoying God?

One reason this is a soapbox issue for me is that I deceived myself on this topic for a number of years. Because I knew the Bible well (better than most), I assumed this accumulated knowledge was evidence that I prioritized God. And yet, my life did not reflect this. Despite this wealth of head knowledge about God, I continued to live in emotional bondage, and the joy and peace that the Bible promised eluded me.

Yes, I knew a lot about God, but I did not know Him because I rarely spent any time with Him. I found praying to be boring, and my laundry list of prayers was all about what I wanted God to do for me or for someone I cared about. I never thought to ask God what I could do for Him. I wanted Him to bless my plans, not join Him in His plans. While I was a Christian who was heaven-bound when I died, I was a selfish Christian who wanted to harness God’s powers like a genie to make my life more comfortable.

God wants a relationship with you and sacrificed His Son for you to enable that to happen. God wants to walk with you, not take the slivers of your life that are left over after you do everything else that you deem more important than spending time with your Creator. Have you ever thought about what God might want out of a relationship with you? I didn’t until I started prioritizing God in my life.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of  Grace with her hands on her hips saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Courtesy Bitmoji.