February 17, 2014 by Isaac Hovet
We weary. We drag. Life pulls at us and frazzles us.
Scripture and time with Jesus brings me back to center. It shows me what is real in life and what my perspective is supposed to be.
As a church leader, I have a lot of opportunity to watch how others live. I counsel, I listen and consider the lives of others. From my vantage point, it becomes too easy to look at what others are doing or not doing. I could, if not for the timely wisdom of God’s Word, lose sight of my life and priorities. This morning, I am reminded:
“Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
1 Timothy 4:16 (NLT)
Here are five questions I am asking myself:
- Have I lied to me or others? Lying to me sounds like, “It wasn’t that big of a deal…” or “I can’t help that.” If all of my life is subjected to Christ, than all of me gets to be honest. Lying to others can be subtle: exaggerating or purposefully withholding some information. Just this morning, I was tempted to not fulfill my promise of a coffee date to my 3 year old daughter. She wouldn’t remember, but I am choosing not to sear my conscience by lying to me OR her.
- Am I consuming too much media? I have noticed that when I am fatigued or stressed, I run towards old TV sitcoms or funny YouTube Videos. If I am stressed, I need to deal with the stressors before running to comfort. If I am fatigued, I need to rest by going to bed early.
- Do I feel resentful or bitter towards people who disagree with me? You’ve probably noticed that we live in a diverse world. Not all ways of thinking are created equal, but we live in a culture that very much values everyone being able to voice their opinions. It is an intellectually fatiguing environment. If I am to remain a husband, father and pastor who emulates Jesus’ way of Truth and Grace, I cannot let oppositional arguments become personalized in my mind. My first and foremost responsibility is to love. Love is patient, kind, etc. If I am offended or angry, I need to withdraw to a place of prayer so I can gain Jesus’ heart for individuals. Then, I seek the wisdom to know how to engage (or not) with those whose beliefs or practices are skewed.
- Am I cynical towards new ideas? I have learned that when my soul is hurting or unfocused, I react to new thinking with negativity. If my response towards creativity is brittle, I need to step back. I must gain fresh flexibility by taking time to come back to center. I know that cynicism is not going to be helpful to my family, my church or leaders.
- Am I afraid of seeing anyone? As I think about who I may run into today, is there fear lurking? If there is, I need to root it out. Have I followed through with my responsibilities to this person? Do I have unresolved frustration that I need to work out with Jesus? Do I need to talk through a hurt with this person?
Working through these five questions helps me know what to address so I can move from dis—integration to integration; from doubt to faith; from despair to hope; from irritable to joyful.