Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
Religion teaches our bondage is to sin, Jesus teaches our bondage is to religion.
Jesus came to correct our misunderstanding of God. Not to make our standing with God correct.
I was having a conversation with a dear friend the other day, he hadn’t been feeling well for some time and we were trying to figure out what might be going on. I asked about diet (healthy eating) and exercise and after some thought he told me that he ate pretty much like every American and was as active as most people he knows. Our talk veered from there but it’s stuck with me since, here’s why:
Comparing ourselves to others is destructive!
Many of us can see the negative effect of comparing ourselves to the extraordinary as it can be very demotivating. (How could I ever be as good…?) But have you ever thought how harmful comparing yourself to the average is, how detrimental being better than most can be? Can settling for “good enough” keep us from being our best selves? I think it’s obvious it can.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting becoming perfectionists, there’s always a balance, besides the vast majority of perfectionists only hold others to their standard, rarely themselves. What we’re exploring here is, How can I be the best me, the me God knows I’m capable of becoming? The answer just may start with being able to put comparisons aside.
Health and wellness are good examples for us; couldn’t we all take better care of ourselves? Another area I’m always thinking about is our relationships, both with God and with each other so here are some questions I’m asking:
Am I pursuing a unique deeply loving relationship with God?
Does my knowing the uniqueness of His love for me cause more compassion and understanding for others?
Do I engage in competitive religious activity keeping score in relation to others? (Isn’t this religion in a nut shell?)
If the answers are yes, yes and no, that’s a great start to being real, being who you are made to be and fulfilling the one thing God has asked.
He loves you like He has loved no other! Comparing yourself to anyone else is fruitless. Nothing can compare to you!
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear. – John Newton, Olney Hymns
Peace, trust and love are the effect of Jesus not fear, anger and hate.
I see two ways you can read this headline: Wow, you’re right I’m not or You’re crazy, I’m killin’ it.
To be clear, I’m not talking about sports or things that actually are competitive. I’m talking about life and of the two reactions above the first is the honest one and the second is a cover up. Deep down there’s a part of each of us that feels like we’re losing, maybe not always but certainly at times. The saddest thing about this is that we’re doing this to each other. This world has a way of pitting us against each other under the illusion that if I can prove I’m better than you or at least convince others I am, then maybe I’ll start to believe it myself and If I really dominate, it may even come true.
The truth is, you’re not winning but the great news is you’re not losing. Life is not a competition, it’s a collaboration. We have nothing to lose by lifting people up. Caring, supporting and valuing others is infinitely more fulfilling than spinning our wheels trying to be superior. If you want to feel great about yourself today, make someone else feel especially loved.
Are you kidding? You’re amazing! There are countless things about you that are absolutely astonishing. There is no one like you, never has been, never will be. You are exactly who God made you to be just, well, wonderful. Oh sure there are some things about you that are a work in progress but you make a much bigger deal out of these few things than you should. When you do that it makes it way harder to change and also tends to make you more critical of others shortcomings. It’s easy for me to see how remarkable you are. I want you to know it too.
“Don’t run after fame and glory for yourself, thinking that such things are the way God keeps score. They aren’t. God doesn’t keep score at all. Such things are not God’s gifts to you. Instead, be generous, loving, gracious, and kind, for it is in these things that God reveals Himself to you, and reveals Himself to others through you.”
Safety only comes at the cost of freedom. Last week we honored those that fought for our freedom while forsaking safety all together. This week many are willing to forego freedom in order to be safe though more accurately what we’re hearing are folks willing to forfeit the actual safety and freedom of others in order to keep themselves from improbable or even imagined danger. Greatness and cowardice both use the word sacrifice, the later is willing to sacrifice others, the former knows that’s not sacrifice at all and is disposed to offer themselves first. Let’s choose greatness.
Jesus doesn’t promise us safety, He offers us freedom.
Liberty that’s not shared is not liberty at all!
Jesus didn’t and doesn’t play to the crowd; He’s always seeking the person as opposed to the people. We on the other hand are repeatedly sacrificing individuals in the name of what’s best for all. The greater good is usually a smokescreen for having it my way which doesn’t seem like Jesus at all.
I recently heard that the chances of you existing are one in 400 trillion. Statistics being what they are I had to look into it and sure enough there’s some pretty good data that backs this up. I also came across a formula that had the odds at one in 700 trillion and another that put the likelihood at 1 in 10 to the 2,685,000th power. Just for comparison, scientists approximate the number of atoms known to exist at 10 to the 80th power. You are a miracle!
If you’re reading this it means you’ve won the Mega Bagillions Lottery! The only question now is how are you going to spend it? Seriously, what are you settling for because you’re not aware of how amazing you are? What insecurities do you live with because you can’t catch a break? What small change could you make today in the light of knowing how astonishing you are that will not only change your life but also those with the honor of interacting with you?