10 Ways to Know You're Getting it Right
- Tuesday, August 23, 2011
If you then be risen with Christ, set your affection on things above where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2).
Some of your Christian friends will be upset with you because you are not upset. They may even accuse you of not caring, of being unpatriotic. Surely, if you were in the know as they are you would be as panicky as they.
You will take that in stride because of Number 6.
6. Your Strange Patience.
Your love for people and your patience with them is becoming stronger and steadier. Sometimes it surprises you. You remember when crazy drivers, unloving people, and ungodly conditions in the world upset you.
As a result, you find yourself able to minister to people who do things displeasing to God. Just as surgeons and nurses in the operating room look past the tragedy of blood and brokenness to treat the patient, you find yourself more and more able to do something similar: you look past the shame and love the person. This enables you to serve in a homeless shelter, in the jail, in certain neighborhoods, in mission centers, all in love.
5. Your Joy and Laughter.
This is a surprising development. You might have expected that becoming like Jesus would mean growing sterner, graver, more serious. And while part of you has deepened in that way, your spirit has sprouted wings. You are now able to soar higher--to laugh at trouble, to find joy in the simplest of pleasures, to rejoice in Christ when nothing is going your way.
Sometimes you find yourself laughing when nothing provokes it.
Joy is like that.
You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine increased (Psalm 4:7).
4. A New Generosity.
You haven't given away all your money, nothing like that. But how you look at money is changing. It has become "a means to an end," and not the goal of anything. Money is a tool to be used to bless people for Christ's sake.
Some say one mark of maturity is to enjoy saving money more than spending it. But we can go that one better: to enjoy putting money to work in the service of God and people is best of all.
When Lawrence Bryant came to know Christ at the age of 43, his priorities were completely rearranged. Instead of amassing wealth, he delighted in blessing others with what God had given him. I still recall his wife Helen remarking to her mother one day, "If you come home and find a moving van backed up to the door, Lawrence has given away the house."
John Dowdle gave a young preacher a large check to assist him in his seminary education. Later he told me, "That same day I made three times that much in a little business transaction." He was quiet for a minute, then said, "That happens so much it almost frightens me."
He was discovering he could not outgive God.
But it's fun to try.
3. Joy in Anonymous Acts.
They said of Jesus that He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38). That's the idea: leaving a trail of blessed people in your wake.
Not all our giving and working should be anonymous, of course. We are bearing a witness for our Lord through our good deeds, and thus we want people to know their Source and to be directed toward Him as a result. However--and this is the point--we get just as big a delight out of blessing someone without him knowing where it came from.
I've had this done for me, and have done it for others. Someone called from a men's clothing store. "Pastor, you are being invited to come down and buy a suit for yourself. No questions asked, anything in the store." What fun that was, particularly in the days when I needed a new suit and money was scarce. But when money was more plentiful, I have passed that blessing along to others. Best of all was doing this for some preacher who was serving a small congregation and being poorly paid. He never knew the source, and that was more pleasurable to me than if he had known.
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