What Shall I Do?

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September 16, 2018

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    Day 1: I am FREE

    Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). The poet Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

    So, what are you planning to do with this wild and precious and abundantly full life you have received?

    You know you must do something with your life. You must do it one day at a time. You must do it day after day. You must do it for all your days. You have a great deal of freedom to make choices. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free . . . if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36). You are free . . .really free.

    Sometimes we don’t feel so free. We feel like victims who are shaped by outside forces. We feel like captives who are bound to the bad decisions of others. We feel insignificant and caught up in the wave of events much bigger than little me.

    You are not a victim. You are not a captive. You are not insignificant. Above all, you are free to pursue a wild and precious and full life. The only question is, will you do that?

    CONSIDER: You are free to choose, to decide, and to act. So, what will you do today to write a better story for your future?

    PUT IT INTO PRACTICE: You must always put into practice the best ideas. You make a better life by living a better day. What will you do today to make today better?

    BE AWARE of God’s presence with you, of the Holy Spirit guiding you, of the nudges you will have throughout the day to be a servant of God’s purposes. As you say yes and make a difference, you are writing a better story.

    Day 2: I am RESPONSIBLE

    In a Spiderman movie, Uncle Ben tells Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Let’s say it this way: With great freedom, comes great responsibility. Responsibility flows out of freedom. Freedom and responsibility are good things. Freedom and irresponsibility are NOT a good combination.

    Paul combines both themes when he says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then... You…were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:1, 13-14).

    Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust concentration camp survivor, says, “Each person is questioned by life, and... to life can only respond by being responsible.” God is the source of your life. Therefore, to this gift of life you can only respond by being responsible to the God of life, light, and love.

    CONSIDER: How responsible are you? Are you quick to take responsibility? Do others see you as responsible?

    REFLECT: What are you responsible for? For whom are you responsible? Make a list. Look it over. How are you doing?

    PUT IT INTO ACTION: What is one area of responsibility where you have not acted with the degree of diligence that is needed? What is your intention? How will you pray? What changes will you make?

    BE WISE, LIVE WELL: If a part of your life is not working out the way you want it to, and you would like to write a better story for the future, it will certainly involve you accepting greater responsibility for what is not working well. What is that one thing that you want to be much better in the future? What will you now do for that to happen?

    Day 3: I am POWERFUL

    Free. Responsible. Powerful. They flow together. They intertwine. They are synergistic, which means the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    Jesus tells his disciples to wait until they have received power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Paul says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Another awesome, synergistic combination—power, love, and self-discipline!

    Paul also reminds us that we can do all things through the power of God which strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Are you seeing more clearly who you are? Do you understand more fully what it means to be remade in the image of God? You are powerful!

    God’s power is in you. You can trust that power. You can use that power. You are free and you are responsible to do so. It is not simply letting God’s power work through you—that is much too passive a way of thinking. The truth is that you are empowered to do the work and will of God. You are empowered to be faithful and obedient to all the ways of Christ.

    G. K. Chesterton describes Christianity as the good things of God running wild. The good and powerful, the beautiful and holy things of Jesus are running wild in your life, through your life, and out from your life. Wow!

    DON’T BE AFRAID: Live today with power, confidence, excitement, and zest. Step out in faith to try something you have been afraid to do.

    NOTICE AND DISCERN: What is God asking you to do today that you don’t think you can do? God is always inviting us outside our comfort zones. Take the step. Go ahead, cross over that line and see what God will empower you to do so his purposes will be fulfilled.

    Day 4: I am ACCOUNTABLE

    “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12).

    “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

    You are free, you are responsible, you are powerful, and you are accountable for what you do with your freedom and how you carry out your responsibilities. You are accountable for how you use the power that has been given to you.

    The parable of the talents emphasizes this. The talent is actual wealth, but it is also a metaphor for all that is entrusted to you. Gifts, abilities, people, duties, obligations, power, time, your very life—it is all on loan to you so you may carry out the purposes and plans of God for the world he loves.

    You are in partnership with God for the flourishing of the world. In particular, for the flourishing of those in your orbit, the people in your network, the places where you live and work and do life.

    You are here to take care of all those things and to make them better. Life is precious. Life is beautiful. There are consequences for everything you do or don’t do. And you are accountable.

    READ Galatians 6:7-10 to see more about the core life principle of reaping and sowing (i.e., consequences) and the obligation we have to sow and reap what is good.

    MAKE A LIST of all that is entrusted into your care, of all for which you are responsible and will give an account. How are you doing with each item you jot down? What would you say right now to Christ about how you are doing with what he has given to you?

    PRAY and ask for the wisdom, strength, will, and determination to do good with what God has given you.

    Day 5: I am GRACE-FULL

    God’s grace is amazing. I never grow tired of saying that. Daily, I am fully indebted to the marvelous grace of God. So are you. I say thank you every day to God for his great grace.

    Grace simply means all you receive from God is not earned, it is not deserved, it is unconditional, it is constant, and it is generous, even lavish. Everything you have from God is by grace.

    Grace means you have forgiveness for all that is in your past. Grace also means you have the resources you need for a better future. Grace mans you are empowered, you are gifted, and you are now able to work alongside God in everything he asks.

    Look at how grace empowered Paul to use his freedom, be responsible, and carry out all of his assignments with joy and diligence:

    “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

    Read this verse out loud as your own declaration.

    You are free. You are responsible. You are powerful. You are accountable. You are being renewed in God’s image. All of this is because of grace. Because of grace, you can partner with God for the flourishing of the world. That this is true is simply amazing. God’s grace is beyond amazing. And you are graced.

    LIVE EACH MOMENT TODAY knowing you are empowered by grace to do the will and work of God.

    BE ALERT TODAY for every opportunity to lead, love, and serve in the name of Jesus. Every opportunity you will have is another grace-gift of Jesus. Seize the day. Live in grace. Do the work of Jesus. Repair the world. Reverse the fall. Enjoy God thoroughly. Be sure to say thank you often.

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