Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Are You Existing or Living?"

I heard my pastor (who is also my husband) ask this question last week. "Are you existing or are you living?" He also ask us to think about the difference between the two. Since the question was posed, I have thought about little else. I don't want to exist. I don't want to go through the motions of life. I want to LIVE!! There are so many days when I feel like I do good to just exist. Life is so busy and there is way more to do than any one person can get done. As I have prayed through this and searched for my own personal answers of "Am I existing or living? And how do you know the difference?" The Lord has brought me to a place of understanding that existing and living is the difference of seeing things from our own perspective versus seeing things from His perspective. From where I stand so often life and circumstances do not make sense. However, when we view our life through the eyes of Jesus it does not have to make sense to us because we know that it does to Him. Our finite minds will not understand this side of heaven all the ways and things that our God has planned and laid out for our lives. It is all for His good and His glory. I once heard Steven Curtis Chapman say after the loss of his daughter that our life is like a tapestry that God has woven for us, but if you look at one small part of the tapestry it does not make sense. You have to stand back and look at the whole creation to understand and appreciate the beauty of the master creator's hand. There have been many things in our lives that if I allowed myself to look at the situation alone it would have caused great discouragement and heart ache. We have walked through cancer twice, being told our 3 year old had lymphoma, having trusted friends turn their back on you and try to destroy the work God was doing in our lives. We have faced hurts and circumstances that you just don't think you will have to walk through by the time you are 35, but through the power of the Holy Spirit we were able to not simply exist during those times, but were able to live and live life abundantly. Jesus says "I have come so that you may have life and have it abundantly." It is not his desire for us just to exist. He want us to live and live abundantly. How is that possible when you are told you have cancer? How is it possible when you are facing the loss of a loved one? How is that possible when you have lost your job and don't know where the next pay check will come from? It is only possible when we cling to the hem of the garment of the one who can take that which seems impossible and make it possible. It seemed impossible that Jesus could be crucified, buried in a tomb and raised to a new life and yet because of that reality we can all live with the assurance of heaven. How can we face the impossible? By understanding what David did in Psalm 34 I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good;blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him." Wow, there are so many things to take note of here. Praise Him, exalt Him, boast in the Lord, glorify Him, taste and see that He is good, take refuge in Him, seek Him, listen to Him, keep your tongue from evil and don't lie, seek peace and pursue peace. When all that we are is crying out to all that He is the only perspective we can have is His and His perspective is LIFE. As we seek Him and know Him, as we taste and see that He is good we begin to live. The everyday things that we think we exist to do become the things we live to do for Him. Do you live to do laundry or do you exist to do laundry? You exist to do laundry when you dread it, get it done and complain through the whole process. You live to do laundry when you wash with a thankfulness of heart as you place each article in the washer and thank God for your wonderful husband and for the blessings of these precious children. You live to do laundry as you fold each item and pray for the person that will soon be wearing it. Even laundry can be done as an act of our living for Him. Do you exist in your job so that you can have a check at the end of the month or do you show life in your job as you do it all for the glory of God seeking to make a difference for His kingdom. My children often ask me what I want them to be when they grow up. My answer is "In love with Jesus." When they push for a more specific job title I tell them that I don't care if they are the president, a missionary, a banker, a teacher, or s garbage collector as long as they have sought the heart of God and they know that they are in the center of His will and they are bringing Him glory with all that they are doing. Existing is no fun. It is just one letter away from exiting this world. But LIFE, living and living abundantly is something worth getting up for. He came that we might have LIFE ABUNDANTLY!!! That excites me. Take a bite of His Word. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Seek Him while He may be found and experience what REAL LIFE is all about. Decide today that to exist is not enough. Seek Jesus, be filled to overflowing with Him and His perspective and you will find LIFE and you will begin to LIVE.

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