Real Talk: Becoming the Child of God You Want to Be
I’ve always wanted to be a better child of God. To know His word better, to have a heart like David – inquiring of the Lord before each decision, and to have my worship be a sweet aroma like Noah’s sacrifice (Genesis 8:21).
How amazing would that be, to constantly be in His presence? Having Him as a close friend? Talking to Him every day like we do with our family? But instead I find myself intimately understanding Paul’s feeling when he wrote Romans 7:15 – “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
It’s frustrating. We aren’t even aware of what we’re doing. In fact, most days it feels like life is on autopilot. Habits we developed over years to function successfully in our everyday lives take over and we zone out. But God doesn’t want zombies following rules out of necessity to worship Him. He expects us to be sober and engaged, and that takes effort. Effort that, at first, we might not want to do, but we must have a real talk with ourselves: examine our habits, altering them or removing them completely if they are quietly leading us astray. Then we can create new habits that effortlessly make us better children.
Real Talk #1: Short cuts might get us to a different destination faster– worship isn’t a to do list
No one wants to work twice as hard for half the reward.
We have so many activities: honey-do lists, care giving, our jobs, laundry, kid’s activities, etc. And as the list keeps increasing, our "free time" continues to decline. We can’t help but find shortcuts to help us be more productive. Our brains shut off and we enter autopilot mode.
Works great for everyday life, but we can’t afford to think of worship as a to do list for heaven. Our service cannot become just another chore on our list of things to do.
Following strict rules with no heart didn’t work for the Pharisees and it won’t work for us either. This isn’t little league where every gets a trophy for the minimal effort of showing up. Jesus warns us against taking the heart out of worship, or "filling the checkbox" worship in Matthew 15:8-9. For His love and sacrifice, He demands and deserves our maximum effort.
Don’t get trapped in autopilot. Working "smarter not harder" doesn’t work for living as a child of Christ. If we’re looking for short cuts from God, then our heart isn’t in it, and we need to make some changes.
Real Talk #2: It’s better to read the Bible than the Bible Cliff Notes
We see tons of information everywhere. They don’t call this the information age for nothing!
We make hundreds of decisions before we leave the house! And in order to survive, we must process information quickly and correctly. But no one has time to read everything and discern for ourselves. In fact, we are usually fine if someone just tells us what it says or summarizes it for us. Then we can be on our way to the next task.
This doesn’t work with God’s word. The Bible is not meant to entertain; it can’t be absorbed in one quick read. And we can’t just take the preacher’s word of what is written.
We want to read more, but let’s be honest, reading God’s word is hard compared to the fictional books and TV shows of today. The internet says so much with so little wisdom, but in God’s word, there is so much to be learned in the small book. Every verse requires meditation. We don’t need to be afraid of this; let’s choose to embrace it and take each verse one at a time. If while reading, we find questions, then we should search for the answers wherever it leads us. Finding answers is what matters.
Real Talk #3: Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do now
Procrastination or second guessing yourself can quickly snuff out our zeal to be great for God.
I have seen a person in need and was moved to help. Then I thought - they could be faking, and I got so tangled in my thought yarn that I continued on my way doing nothing. As if doing nothing was helping. It’s preposterous, I know, but our mind is a dangerous place – rationalizing ANYTHING. We shouldn’t hang out there for long.
When the Spirit moves us to do something – send a card, talk to a visitor, visit a shut in – we should do it right away. James 2:16 says, "If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?" This means that action matters, not wishful thinking. I "was going to" or "thought about it" does nothing.
There are so many habits that once instilled can overtake our actions and thoughts without our recognition. Every Sunday we are encouraged to be better, but on Monday the habits take over and we are back where we started.
Think about any other habits or thoughts that are limiting you from being the child of God you want to be. Imagine what life would be like if we truly became that person, and start making plans to remove any habit that prevents that from becoming a reality.