The Core Values: Engrossed Existence
Here is another friendly reminder to head over to Proverbial Thought for today’s devotional thought from Proverbs!
We now continue our look at the Four Core Facts and the Four Core Values, having examined the desperate pursuit of God, diligent prayer, and a consecrated heart. If you are interested in a more in-depth look at the Core Facts and the Core Values, look up my wonderful youth pastor, Jesse Bollinger, at Fervent Youth.
As I said before, all of the Core Facts and Values flow together. The Values are useless without the truth of the Facts. Without a desperate pursuit of God bathed in diligent prayer creating a consecrated heart, we play a dangerous game with the fourth Core Value:
A Focused Life
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified . . . For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7
Why would I say we play a dangerous game with a focused life without the Core Facts and Values?
Perhaps you have heard that line that goes something like “Those who believe in nothing will fall for anything.” People can devote their lives to just about anything out there (read the tabloids, news, and/or history books).
Some people even dedicate their lives to God without considering the possibility that God will come collect. Then they are surprised at what God wants.
It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider his vows
This is why we need a foundation based on the reality of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of God, and a value-system based on the truth revealed in the Bible.
Have you noticed how easy it is to be distracted? Humans have always found a way to distract themselves, but Modern Man has really excelled in this area.
We have access to an entire world in ways barely imaginable 100 years ago, from cars to trains to airplanes.
We have access to an entire world through the internet.
We have access to endless entertainment through books, movies, television, video games, sports, the internet, and various other entertainment-industry options too numerous to list here.
We have access to friends and family any time of the night or day around the world through telephones, cellular phones, e-mail, Facebook, the internet (noticing a theme?), and so many other things.
We have more than enough to distract us, and we have even made it possible to stop using our own imagination.
But what do the most successful people in our world have in common?
Their lives are dedicated to one major thing (which can include many smaller things, but usually related things), and they do not let anything get in the way of their dreams and goals.
They each have a focused life.
This is basically what God has called all who would follow Him to do. Be focused.
The answer comes in a rebuke of Peter by Jesus:
“You must follow me.”
We have to focus our lives on Jesus.
However, I will take this a step further.
There are a lot of people who claim to follow Jesus, and they show up to church regularly, tithe, donate, and volunteer.
They live good lives.
While their lives are engrossed in Jesus, I would posit that their entire existence is not engrossed in Jesus. (See the title of the post worked in there?!)
In truth, these people (and even many people engrossed in following Jesus can succumb to this) are distracted by serving.
How do we know when we get distracted by service?
One of two things is usually what happens:
- We are not going where Jesus is going. We find ourselves in the church building all the time, or at church functions, and we know everyone we see or know someone who knows that person well and we are all Christian. We rarely encounter anyone who is hurting, mourning, in desperate need, or stuck in sin (of which we are aware).
- We are exactly where Jesus is, but we are “pulling a Martha“. Sometimes, we are so busy serving Jesus that we forget about actually serving others, and we are surrounded by people who really need Jesus.
The Problem and Solution
We are not fully engrossed in following Jesus. That is just the way it is.
This is where the other values come in. To be fully engrossed we must desperately pursue God by reading the Bible, learning what it means through teachings and fellowship, and seeking where God is working. To effectively pursue God, we must be in constant communication with Him through diligent prayer, and this helps us grow in a desire to study the Bible and find where God is going. As we pray and study, we find our hearts are growing ever more consecrated to God, and our desire to seek Him and talk with Him grows. The more consecrated our hearts become for God, the more we find our life being focused on God.
The only other step is that we must put it all into practice.We must be with those who are hurting and in need. We must show love and grace. We must forgive ALL people.
We must effectually become like Jesus Christ.
Our focus in life must be to be completely engrossed in living and loving like Jesus, pushing aside distractions and pushing on in faith, grace, and love.
Next week, I will briefly discuss The Core Mission.
What are your thoughts? How are you doing?