WHAT IS LIFE REALLY ALL ABOUT?
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
What is life REALLY all about? The answer is really quite simple, believe it or not, but most people aren't going to like the answer.
Here is the answer: Life is about what YOU can do to make GOD happy ' daily. It is about living your life in a way that is pleasing to God ... making it your number one purpose for living, and everything else being secondary.
See ' I told you ' it's not an answer WE like hearing at ALL, but it's the truth.
The answer we want to hear IS: "God wants to give ME the desires of MY heart."
[Allow me to share a little "choice morsel" here for the wise, before proceeding: When your ways are pleasing to the Lord ... He's then much more inclined to give you the desires of your heart. Until then - It's my experience that He's good at withholding the best He has in store for you].
Please hear me out on this. God wants this message going out to Christians -- especially hurting Christians.
Think about this: Should it surprise us once we get to heaven to discover that heaven will not at ALL be about what we can get God to do to make US happier, but rather ' having a purer, keener sense of knowing that our purpose for existing (since the day we were created) was to keep this prayer on the tip of our tongue every waking moment: 'Lord ' what can I do to bring YOU pleasure today? Clearly show me ' then enable me to do so. Forgive me if I fall short, because I'm going to need a whole LOT of help from You.'
The most frustrated Christians are those who have never clearly figured out what life is REALLY supposed to be all about. Though God grants us certain desires we have to mostly keep us motivated to stay being His follower and disciple ' God will purposely withhold granting certain desires of our heart for the primary purpose of trying to get us to realize we need to start making some proper attitude adjustments.
The wisest attitude adjustment we can make is to come to the clear and sobering reality that 'life' does not evolve around little ole' me. It revolves on what is pleasing to God.
Think about it. What logical reason would God purposely create either an angel or a human being for the soul purpose of having them frustrated most of the time because they just can't quite motive Him enough to grant them the desires of their heart ' when the consuming desire of their heart is everything but seeking God DAILY about what they can do to please HIM?
Somewhere along the line, way back in time, Satan and innumerable angels that got kicked out of the highest heaven got that priority all wrong. Somehow they came to the conclusion that life should really be about THEM being more the center of attention, than God. Life should be about God pleasing THEM, instead of them pleasing God.
Well ' see where that SELF-CENTERED attitude got them. They eventually get to spend eternity in hell, suffering for it, the Bible clearly says.
Come on now ' get honest with yourself, if you're struggling with this. God states that we humans are ALL born into sin. We are born with a sin nature, which we inherited ultimately from Adam and Eve. What that sin nature did to us was program us to have an attitude that continuously thinks about what OTHERS should be doing to make US happy. ME happy.
Then if we're wise, we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. If you're anything like me when I turned my life over to Jesus Christ, I just assumed that after I did that, God was obligated to start making ME happier. How happy it may or may not made HIM was near rock bottom on my priority list, though I never gave it much conscious thought.
And then if anyone tried to tell me that God didn't want to grant me the desires of my heart, I tuned them out faster than my sledge hammer can destroy a suspected terrorist ant. Oh sure ' God granted me a few desires of my heart, (thank you, Jesus!), but the longer I walked with God, the more I began to learn ' the HARD way ' that being in proper relationship with God is NOT about what He can do for ME, but rather ' what I can do to please HIM. Big difference in attitude. HUGE difference in mind-set.
The Bible says, 'It is more blessed to give, than to receive.' It also says, 'Give, and it will be given unto you.'
After MANY years of trying to get a handle on what life REALLY is supposed to be about from God's perspective, the dark light bulb has finally started to flicker. The more I CARE about what pleases GOD, and start putting some action to it ' frequently ' daily, even - the more motivated He is to care about what pleases me. The more I purpose to bless God, the more He's willing to bless me. The more I'm willing to give of myself to God, the more He's willing to extend His favor to me. It doesn't obligate Him to bless me; it just MOTIVATES Him to want to bless me more, and those blessings can come at some very 'interesting' times, in some very 'interesting' ways.
Is it material 'things' he wants to bless me with the most? NOT AT ALL! The most joyous and happy Christians I've met are not those who have the mindset of: 'God, when you give me this or that, I'll be a lot happier and a lot more joyful.' Instead, they are people who have 'lost their life concerning life revolving around THEM' ' and had that selfish, destructive attitude replaced with: 'What makes YOU happy, God, is what I determine is going to make ME happy, and that is my soul purpose for existing.'
I hope you're ready for this. The people God will reward the most through eternity are those who have only ONE desire in their being at all times. That ONE desire is to do everything they know to do to please God - to make Him happier ' moment by moment, in accordance to any specific things God may will for them to engage themselves in.
We often misunderstand the full implication of what Matthew 6:33 is truly addressing. The scripture reads:
'But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.'
If this scripture is at all a mystery to you, please allow me to give you an interpretation you shouldn't have any trouble understanding. It means:
Make your sole reason for living this: 'God' what can I do to please YOU today? Help me accomplish it 'today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. Whatever else I need to live life, I'll trust You to ultimately provide it. Just show me my responsibility in all of it.'
Dear one, I know this has been blunt. I know it most likely stings. But people are doing much sole-searching these days. Far too many Christians have been molded to think that they are so special to God that God is supposed to do nothing more than shower them with blessing after blessing after blessing. And when it doesn't work out that way for them? They begin to question whether or not God even really CARES about their happiness, if He ever did in the first place.
Oh, God cares about each of our happiness all right, but NOT at the expense of letting us remain spoiled rotten adults who are fully content to keep trying to muster up some magical formula to get God to grant us what we desire.
God makes it quite clear in Romans 8:28-30 that HIS ultimate agenda is to conform Christians into the image of Jesus Christ. Exactly what KIND of image would that be, anyhow? Answer: A creation who existed on this planet for 33 years in a human body who existed for ONE primary purpose: To please THE Father - His Father.
Nothing changed when He translated back to heaven, from where He came from. For all time and eternity, Jesus Christ existed for one primary purpose: To please the Father.
Do you care to know the primary purpose the Father exists? To please Jesus and please the Holy Spirit.
And the same goes for the Holy Spirit. The primary purpose the Holy Spirit exists is to please the Father and please Jesus Christ the Son - The Word. Everything ELSE flows out of that purpose.
The angels that remained in heaven were allowed to remain there because they had the right understanding about what life for them was all about. It was about pleasing the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and pleasing others. In so doing, nothing would bring them greater pleasure 'greater joy' greater happiness.
Should we assume having a DIFFERENT mindset than theirs is somehow going to motivate God to make an exception for you and I? Never. Isn't going to happen. We dance to God's tune. He never is going to dance to ours. And when we get that priority right ' we'll enter into blessings from God that we didn't know were obtainable.
God is telling us to work diligently at putting God's desires above our earthly desires in Colossians 3:1-2 NKJV:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Much can be addressed about 'setting our minds on above' on heavenly things. I want to try to leave you with GREAT HOPE if you are feeling right now that it's a waste of your time from here on to ask God for special things you would like Him to do for you. Please don't do that! God clearly tells us that we have every right to make our requests known to Him, and in fact implies that He WANTS us to, if for no other reason than to get some peace from God over the matter:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
Does this presume, then, that God is obligating Himself to grant us our every request at every time and in every situation in our life? The scripture below obviously answers, in part, the question:
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:3 NKJM)
I believe this scripture is intended to communicate essentially this: God determines what each of our needs are at any given time (NOT US), and it is HE ' not us ' who is able to clearly see all factors involved when we ask Him for a given thing. The problem that enters into the matter of our 'needs vs wants' is a difficult one for each of us, I realize, because God may not agree at any given time that what WE think we need ' may not be what God deems we need at that time at all, in other words.
For instance, we may be in a hot dessert nearing death, trusting God to supply some cool water. Afterall, we MUST have water to live, right? But what if God has decided it is time for us to come to be with Him in heaven?He may not grant us a drink of water in that setting, but rather ' let us slip into glory where we'll NEVER thirst again for water. Hence, we need to realize that 'need' can be quite "RELATIVE."
The wise Christian has learned to try to hear clearly what the Holy Spirit is willing to impart to them about matters of prayer and trusting. The wise, mature Christian knows there is REALLY only ONE need any of us really has, from God's perspective, and that is Salvation, forgiveness for our sins, so that we will be qualified to go to heaven and say there with God for eternity. Dovetailing with THAT need is the Holy Spirit. Hence, we can truly say that the ONLY thing any of us TRULY needs is the Holy Spirit, because it is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings us into Salvation.
That's a tough reality to swallow, isn't it? Our fleshly, selfish carnal nature absolutely recoils in anger at the thought!
I hope you aren't getting the impression that I'm trying to somehow imply that God could care LESS about our happiness here on Earth. God clearly tells us that He specifically wills that we ever-seek to be full of PEACE and JOY, as mentioned in Galatians 5:22: Yet what hinders us having much of any sustainable PEACE and JOY? When we want something and we've asked God for it, and we're trusting God to grant it to us, yet it may not work out the way we asked and trusted for, does that chip into your PEACE and JOY? If it DOES, that's most likely a sign that SELFISHNESS is expressing displeasure.
PEACE and JOY come and remain the longest when we make our request(s) known to God, and whatever He wills is best in the situation is perfectly FINE, 'Because after all, God knows what is BEST for each of us in any given situation.'
This is a hard-hitting message. It needs to be. It's not a message MANY are going to find anything "positive" to say about, I fully realize. But the more I seek God these days for understanding of the times we are in ... and the times we will be facing in times ahead ... this message is going to become ever-increasingly more important for true believers to come to grips with. Either pleasing God is EVERYTHING ... or ... everything that I've come to know about God can be thrown into the garbage can and hauled off to the garbage dump.
God speaks of a "great falling away" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that will come upon the world scene prior to the manifestation of the anti-Christ. I'm quite aware of the controversy that exists about what 2 Thes. 2:3 may or may not be addressing, but I'm simply stating that what I hear the Holy Spirit saying is that in a large part, it is addressing Christians whose hearts will grow colder and colder toward Christianity by measurement of the New Testament Bible, because for whatever reason/s, they did not come to grips with sufficient understanding that life is not about me and you and what we think God should or should not be doing to make US happy. It is NOT about our happiness -- it is about how we can be PLEASING God) -- and trusting God to take care of us to make certain that we make it to heaven to be with Him forever.
When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord ... (From: Proverbs 16:7)
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