To Live Is Christ

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This is shocking…appalling! An entire generation grew up not knowing the Lord…and all He had done for Israel? How could this happen?

There had to of been a breakdown somewhere. Were the parents teaching their children about the Lord and all He had done? From looking at that verse, I think the answer is a resounding NO.

From reading the first few chapters in Judges, the Israelites did not seem to be doing very well with the “you shall have no other gods before me” command. They had strayed from the Lord. They disobeyed Him and associated with people God told them not to. They began to worship their gods.

I was so convicted when I read that verse about an entire generation growing up not knowing the Lord.

Still today, this verse can apply to our lives. We have to invest in the next generation. As parents, we have to be intentional to teach our children about the Lord. As leaders, we should be training future Godly leaders. If we don’t, who will?

Look, I know life is busy. I’m like you. Running in this crazy rat race of life at full speed. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even catch my breath.

We are a driven society. We go 100 miles an hour. Burning the candle at both ends.

But here are some thought provoking questions.

To what end result? What do we have to show for all of our hard work and efforts? Is what we are doing now going to matter in a few months? A year from now? What about 10 years? In eternity???

Think about it.

We so easily get caught up in the daily living, our jobs, Facebook, chores, hobbies, television, money, things, that we neglect the most important thing, the thing that our eternal destination depends on.

God.

And that’s exactly what Satan wants. He loves to keep us driven. He keeps our schedules full and overflowing so that we have no time for God.

I have been so convicted about how I have wasted my life. I’ve been a Christian since I was 10 years old. My Christian walk has had its ups and downs. At times I’ve been hot. Other times cold. But the majority of my Christian walk has been lukewarm. Yeah, lukewarm. Complacent. Stagnant. The Lord has been showing me how I have been wasting my life on things that have no eternal value.

So I began to weigh my actions and activities on a different scale. An eternal scale.

Eternal value? No eternal value?

I asked myself, Does what I am doing day in and day out have any eternal value?

So then here’s another question, What does have eternal value?

I began to listen to the teaching of Pastor Rick Warren. He says our calling in life consists of two things; loving God and loving people. Any time we invest our lives in loving God and loving others, our lives have great eternal value.

“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  Luke 10:27

Rick says he prays before he gets out of bed in the morning, “Lord, if I don’t get anything else done today, help me to love You and know You more, and help me to love the people You put in my path.”

Ah, loving God and loving others. A day spent worthwhile. That has eternal value.

Here was another heart gripping question that Rick asked in one of his sermons.

“Is anyone going to be in heaven because of you?”

Ouch! I had never thought about that before. Uh, and if I were to answer honestly, probably not.

And I so badly want that to change. Over the past few years, God has been doing a deep work in my life. And I have a passion to know Him and make Him known like never before. Part of it is because I am seeing how short this life really is. Time is passing by so quickly. And I get one shot at this life. WE get one shot. None of us know when the curtain is going to fall. But it will. Rest assure, it most certainly will. None of us make it out of this old world alive. And I don’t know about you, but I want to make it count. Not just now or a few years from now. I want to make it count for eternity.

So what kind of eternal rewards do I want when I get to heaven? I’ve been thinking a lot about that too. No one knows what heaven will truly be like. We just know what the Bible hints at. We know that the Lord will be there and it will be awesome!

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’”

But as I have been thinking about what eternal treasures I want when I get to heaven, here’s what I think I want above every treasure heaven has to offer.

I want God’s smile.

I want Him to be proud of me. Just like with my earthly daddy, I have always wanted to please him…to make him proud. I want my Heavenly Daddy to be proud of the way I lived my life. Yes, that would be an eternal treasure beyond anything else.

So how do we make this life count? How do we make sure that the next generation coming up after us will know the Lord, know His Word, know all of His magnificent works?

I think Paul said it best in Philippians 1:21. “To live is Christ.”

What’s your passion? What do you live for?

Fill in the blank.

To live is _____________.

To live is…work.

To live is…television.

To live is…facebook.

To live is…shopping.

To live is…sports.

To live is…food (ooooh, tough one for me).

To live is…sleeping (eeeek, another hard one).

To live is…money.

To live is…clothes.

To live is…a big house.

To live is…a fancy car.

To live is…a hobby.

To live is…a husband, wife, son, daughter.

 

Who can honestly say what Paul said?

To live is…Christ!

Yes! But that’s it! Paul was right. The way we LIVE says everything about what our priorities and passions are. And the way we live, THAT is what the next generation will buy into. That is what our children will be passionate about. Our kids will follow in our footsteps. They will love what we love. They will LIVE what we LIVE.

See, God is not just something we do on Sundays at church. He is not an event we attend. He is a way of LIFE. We don’t just put Him in a neat little nice box on the shelf and get Him out whenever disaster strikes or we feel like it. No. The Lord must be intertwined in every aspect of our lives. To live is Christ. He’s not just at church, but in our work places, our homes, our hobbies, everything. He even wants to be our topic of conversation. I love what Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says about how we can impact the next generation and teach them God’s commands.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Talk about Him. Include Him in everything. Every aspect of our lives. To live is Christ. Let Him be the topic of conversation while sitting on the living room couch or eating dinner at the kitchen table. Talk about Him while walking or driving, going from place to place. Talk about Him when we are getting up in the morning and when we are going to bed at night. All day long. Live Him. Live Christ.

Want to know what someone is passionate about? Just listen to them talk. People talk about their passions. Some of us know more about Hollywood stars and sports than we do about God and His Word.  

Yes, to truly live and make your life count…beyond this world…for eternity…we must learn to live Christ. 

I am fearful that unless Christ becomes more than a weekly event in our churches the next generation will not know Him. Unless Christ becomes more than a segmented box in our lives, our children will not grow up to know and love Him above all else in this life. 

I say this to me most of all.  I want to learn from the painful lesson of the Israelites. I need to heed the words of Judges 2:10 and allow them to penetrate through to my heart. To get my focus back on what truly matters… what has eternal value. What will cause my little girl to grow to know and love the Lord with all of her heart, mind, and soul. To grow to be part of a generation who KNOWS God and all the wonderful things He has done. It all boils down to one thing.

To live is Christ. 

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