Day 10: Toward Certain Destruction

Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction. John 3:17 (The Voice)

Advent 2019 – A Journey Towards Forgiveness

One of my biggest frustrations with God is that he never goes with my ideas. I love being in charge and making decisions. I think I’m at my best when I’m in control and set the destination. If he would only go with my ideas, we (or and least I) would be so much better off.

But this passage is a firm reminder as to why he doesn’t put me in charge. Truth be told, I’m actually pretty terrible at it. I make self-destructive choices. Worse than that, I make choices that hurt and harm others. I’m inclined to make sure fair benefits myself first.

I make choices headed towards certain destruction. Rarely do I make choices that deny short term pleasure for long term gain. I’m capable of wasting an entire day trying to discover how to have my cake and eat it too. And if I can’t, I’m totally willing to steal your cake. Day 10: Toward Certain Destruction

My point? Despite my best efforts, to date, I have been unable to save myself. More troubling, the more I have found out about myself, the more I have discovered just how incapable I truly am.

There is a lot I can do for myself. One of the things I am forever unable to accomplish is my own salvation. I need something else…someONE else to do it for me.

Toward Certain Destruction

We’re all in the same boat. It doesn’t take a long glance at the nightly news to know our world is deeply troubled. Wars, famine, disease, conflict, political division, all are wreaking havoc in our society and around the world. The end result of people looking for something besides Jesus to save them.

In fact, these are all forms of people looking to save themselves. Because I’ll be good if my political candidate wins, my team wins, or my country becomes the world’s leading superpower. It is a belief that “might makes right.” I’ll win when I have enough power to keep you from harming me.

And along the way, I’ll make whatever destructive choices I need to. We are a world headed toward certain destruction.

Advent’s waiting is a time of examination. It opens us up to all of our self-destructive habits, all of our worst behaviors, all of our selfish choices, and invites us to repent. To go from “toward certain destruction” and go “toward life abundantly.”

John, today’s author, even ends his observation this way.

Light, sent from God, pierced through the world’s darkness to expose ill motives, hatred, gossip, greed, violence, and the like. Still some people preferred the darkness over the light because their actions were dark. Some of humankind hated the light. They scampered hurriedly back into the darkness where vices thrive and wickedness flourishes. Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God. (1:19-21)

 

Advent Series Previous Posts

Introduction

Active Forgiveness

Ocean Depths

Emotional Baggage

Compassion and Forgiveness

Those Who Forgive

Repentance Requires Action

Learn To Do Good

Dirty Clothes

Day 8: Learn To Do Good

Advent 2019 – A Journey Towards Forgiveness

Learn to do good; commit yourselves to seeking justice. Isaiah 1:17 (The Voice)

Day 8 – Learn To Do Good

Learning is hard. Humans come into this world incapable of doing almost anything for themselves. We must be fed, changed, and clothed entirely by others. Slowly we learn to roll over, crawl, and walk. But each of those milestones comes with setbacks. My own kids learned to walk only after falling down repeatedly.

Success only seems to come through failure and setback. Winston Churchill is attributed with a saying that, “Success is moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Day 8: Learn To Do Good

God’s admonition in this passage is to learn to do good. It’s not a natural inclination. Like bathing, feeding, and walking ourselves, it is a learned habit.

That probably means setback and failure. Leadership is a learned habit. It is full of good decisions and bad indiscretions. Words of affirmation often followed by gossip. Two steps forward, one step back.

God’s people must learn to do good. For God’s people, learning to do good comes through a commitment to justice.

God’s pronouncement against his people in Isaiah’s opening chapter is a call for repentance. It’s a cry to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. To turn their selfishness into sacrificial generosity. And to turn away from wickedness, by seeking justice. 

Advent reminds us to wait. But this waiting is not a passive waste of time. Instead, it is active. Actively pursuing justice and reconciliation. We must be actively pursuing good and right. This is no time to waste, the Savior is coming.

As we wait, may we use to time to learn to do good, practice justice, and experience forgiveness.

 

Advent Series Previous Posts

Introduction

Active Forgiveness

Ocean Depths

Emotional Baggage

Compassion and Forgiveness

Those Who Forgive

Repentance Requires Action

Day 7: Repentance Requires Action

Advent 2019 – A Journey Towards Forgiveness

Even now, turn back your heart and rededicate yourselves to Me; Show Me your repentance by fasting, weeping, and mourning. Rip the wickedness out of your hearts; don’t just tear your clothing. Now return to the Eternal, your True God. You already know He is gracious and compassionate. He does not anger easily and maintains faithful love. Joel 2:12-13 (The Voice)

Day 7 – Repentance Requires Action.

As a father of four, I spend a fair amount of time repeating the same phrases over and over again.

“Don’t do that.”

“Think of others first.”

“Don’t hit.” Day 7: Repentance Requires Action

“We don’t put our butt’s in other people’s faces.” (Y’all think I’m joking but….#NotJoking)

In response, I also hear similar objections.

“It’s not my fault.”

“I didn’t do it.”

“They started it.”

Along the way, my wife and I are trying to teach them. We want to teach them about life and relationships. About sacrificial service and generosity. About reconciliation and justice.

God, speaking here through Joel, is inviting people to repentance.

Repentance requires action.

It’s much more than saying sorry.

It’s changing behavior to move in a new direction.

That’s the goal of parenting, right? To get kids to move in a new direction. From one of selfishness to one of generosity. We want our kids to know right from wrong. Our desire is for our children to grow up to be bold and daring, to be passionate, caring, thoughtful, and world-changing.

God invites people into fasting and mourning. Similarly, we teach our kids to change their behavior and do something different. It’s not enough to say sorry, we show repentance by not doing it again.

The waiting of Advent is designed for preparation. We prepare our hearts to receive Christ’s forgiveness. During this time, we examine our hearts and motives. We repent and mourn. Because of Advent, we are invited into a space of reconciliation: with God, with each other, and within ourselves.

God is gracious and compassionate. He desires repentance. But repentance requires action. A change of direction. It’s a new thought, habit, and pattern of behavior. Words alone fail.

For those that change their gaze towards a forgiving Savior, a deeper experience of God awaits. One of abounding love, gracious compassion, and lasting forgiveness.

Advent Series Previous Posts

Introduction

Active Forgiveness

Ocean Depths

Emotional Baggage

Compassion and Forgiveness

Those Who Forgive

Start With The Big Rocks

“I just can’t fit it all in!”

Those were the words my client told me over the phone.

Frustrated and agitated, he was lamenting the increasing toll his recent promotion was taking on him. The commutes were longer, the workdays were more exhausting, the stress was mounting.

“Was the pay increase really worth this?” he continued. “Sure, the pay is great, but what’s the point if I can’t enjoy it. Worse than that, I barely see my family anymore!”

Perhaps you can relate.

Maybe you’ve had one of the “crazy weeks.” (Wait…isn’t every week like that???)

My advice remains the same now as it was then: start with the big rocks.

Determine Your Big Rocks

I remember hearing of a study once that examined the student’s ability to properly fill an aquarium full of rocks. There were various sizes of rocks from tiny pebbles to larger foundational rocks.

As the story goes (at least as it was reported to me), the college students started dumping rocks, starting with the small one first to fill the bottom evenly.

By the time they got to the big rocks, not everything would fit.

In contrast to this, the kindergarten students started with the big rocks and everything looking messy. But, as they poured each successively smaller version of rocks in, they filled all the gaps.

The result? The college students “failed” the experiment by not fitting in all of their assigned rocks. In contrast to this, the kindergarten students passed because all of the rocks fit.

And while dozens of life lessons could be learned from this, this is why I push my clients to start with the big rocks.

When we start with the big rocks of life, we end up having room for everything. Work is undoubtedly an important part of life, but is it our biggest rock? Probably not. (At least it shouldn’t be…)

Family, self-care, personal growth, and close relationships are all things that should take up the foundation of who we are. Hobbies and work probably come next. Small rocks include the minor areas of life that take up some time but should never take too much.

As we gain clarity on what our big rocks are, we can easily see what is out of balance with our life pace.

Learning From My Kids

One of the things I’ve learned to implement is a lesson from my four children. If I leave the house and I hear, “Bye, dad! I can’t wait to see you later!” there is a good chance that things are going well. If, on the other hand, I hear, “Noooooo. Daddy, don’t go!” followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth, I know that my priorities for work are starting to take up too much time.

In those moments, I work diligently to reshape my schedule to spend more time with my family.

Thankfully, I’m getting better at this and starting to hear those sounds of disappointment less.

But it all starts with having clarity.

  • Clarity on the key values for my life.
  • Conviction on what matters most.
  • Commitment to live a life shaped by honoring my values more than worldly demands.

But I can only do that when I start with the big rocks.

Question For Discussion: What might be something you would say to someone struggling with work-life balance? Leave a comment below!

 

Want to gain even more clarity? Sign up for my free 5-day e-course on work-life balance.

3 Strategies for Increased Success

Welcome to this week’s episode of the LeaderQuest Podcast. This week, we are talking about 3 strategies for increased success.

We are all going to experience frustration, setback, and a lack of motivation. Those that are able to push through those feelings and pursue their goals and dreams are those that will find success.

Some of it is about mindset. Knowing what you’re pursuing is vitally important.

But another part of the equation is knowing how to work smarter, not harder.

Today’s episode tackles that component.

Here are three things you can do to find success in the daily grind of life, business, family, and dream chasing.

As always, thank you for listening! I really appreciate it.
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