When I go to the movies, I love watching previews.
It’s exciting to see what new movies are coming soon and then decide which ones I will and won’t see. By the fourth preview, I actually forget what movie I came to see in the first place. Even if it’s an epic movie I had been excited about, I think, “Wait, why am I here? Oh ya I’m here for that movie.” And then I get all excited again because I’m looking forward to seeing it.
We tend to forget why we are here. I easily get caught up in the many distracting things in life. The world offers some awesome previews filled with enticing promises of success, fame, sex, and happiness.There are temptations which causes us to forget God altogether. One minute we are saying yes to God and the next we are saying yes to the devil. We say we want to love like Christ, but then we argue, debate, and hate. We begin to enjoy other things more than God, because we forget why we are here. And then of course there are fears, insecurities, and trials that pull us off course. But let me remind you of a few things God is calling us to, so we can again be excited about our reason for living.
God calls us to be holy in a polluted world.
Hebrews says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Many times we try to toe the line of sin, because our goal is to see what we can get away with. But the point of the boundaries God has set for us isn’t to see how close we can get to sinning. God is calling us to be different and free from the things holding us back from our calling. When we are distracted and clinging to so many things which don’t even matter, we can’t see the Lord.
We are called to reach out.
James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So now we all need to adopt an orphan and find a widow to take care of. Right? I don’t believe so. Orphans and widows are both abandoned.They are in need of community. We need to look beyond our selves to see who might be lonely and in need of love.
We are called to unity.
We read in Ephesians, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (4:2-3) Not only are we here to bring in the abandoned and lonely, but we are to treat each other with love and maintain unity and peace with other believers. We say we want to create peace with each other, but it’s so easy to get caught up in things that divide us. Church history has shown that the church has not been successful at maintaining unity and peace. How many denominations are there? How many people were killed by self righteous “Christians” trying to force their beliefs on people? We might not always agree, but our reaction to conflicts needs to be aiming for peace and love, not aiming to be right. We are called to spread the Good news of Christ, not to force it on people.
We are called to love.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.” The ultimate point of our lives, as Christ followers, is to love. Yes God wants us to serve those in need, and strive for holiness, to be unified but if we aren’t doing it out of love, then what’s the point. If we aren’t doing it for love, we are doing it out of selfishness or obligation.
Whatever you are dealing with might be complicated. Maybe you are going through a trial or have a difficult relationship to figure out. When God says the solution is love, we might think it’s too elusive or simple; some cheesy idea that can’t actually apply to real life. But if we lift our eyes from our present situation, and look to our God who loves us enough to die in our place, we will realize our problems are temporary and fleeting. Yes the emotions are real, and life is difficult, but when we keep looking and dwelling on the things that distract and hold us back, we forget that God loves us and wants to lead us to freedom. Let’s stop wasting our time getting caught up in meaningless things and move towards the holiness, peace, and love God has for us. We will never do it perfectly in this life. But that is the point of God’s grace. When we aim for righteousness, God will help us with the rest.
This is what sparked your heart when God first called you! Aren’t you excited again? I am!
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12: 1-3