[box] Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” John 5:19[/box]
I confess: I can be impressionable.
If I respect you and you say, “Cheryl, read this or watch that,” I’m likely to seriously consider your suggestion ~ simply because it worked for you.
The problem is, what’s good for you isn’t necessarily good for me (yours and my strengths and weaknesses can be as different as the sun and moon); nor is it necessarily best for either of us.
[box] “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23[/box]
God wants heaven’s best for us: He wants what pleases Him most.
[box] For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10[/box]
How do we discover what pleases the Lord?
We pursue Him. We C.R.A.W.L. to Him.
Communicate. We draw near to the Lord, knowing He’ll draw near to us…
Read His Word. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet. We learn to walk in His ways….
Ask. We ask Him for wisdom, knowing He’ll give it to us without finding fault…
Worship. We bathe our souls in thanksgiving, continually celebrating His presence…
Listen. We don’t lean on our own understanding. With all our hearts, we wait for God to speak. We wait for His peace…
[box] For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9[/box]
Remember the hungry crowds who followed Jesus that day? Jesus didn’t accept His disciples’ “logical” solution to turn them away. Instead, He turned to His Father, gave thanks, and fed them.
The “best,” most amazing things happen when we choose the way of Christ over the way of self.
The disciples warned Paul what would happen if he went to Jerusalem. He’d be a sure dead man! But instead of taking his friends “logical” warnings, Paul decided to follow the path of Christ. He’d fought the good fight and finished the race; He was ready to enter the life that’s truly life. Ready to embrace God’s best: the way of Christ.
Good, better, and best may not be a matter of life and death as we see with Paul. Our daily choices, however, affect our tomorrows like rain affects grass.
[box] Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7[/box]
Do you want to reap what’s good or what’s best?
We can always find any old Jane or Joe who’s willing to validate our choices (bad, good or best); but there’s a more excellent way. We can check with the boss first.
Sometimes when stumped by difficult decisions, this is my tie breaker:
The best answer is usually the most selfless answer.
The best answer is always the way of Christ.
[box] Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1-2[/box]
Heavenly Father, I want to be Jesus-impressionable, not swayed by crowds and convincing voices. Sorry for putting my desires ahead of yours. I want to ask you first because I know your way is always “best”. I want to please you first because I answer to you alone. Strengthen me to hear and obey your voice. I want to live regret-free, and store up heaven’s best, both now and eternally. Amen.
Can you honestly say with Paul, “follow me as I follow Christ”? (1 Corinthians 11:1)
How can you be the “best” Christ-imitator today? What needs to go? What needs to stay? What needs to grow?