The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com
Our lives are filled with activity and hectic schedules and we have only been given a certain amount of days to accomplish what God wants us to do. Since Adam and Eve, history has provided a probationary period to determine who will embrace and who will reject an eternal covenant relationship with our Creator. In the end, there will only be those who say yes to God’s invitation and those who say no and thereby choose to eternally separate themselves from Him. Hopefully, there will come a point when we examine our priorities and realize that how we lived was more important than how well we landscaped our lawn, or how much money we made. I was driving past a cemetery the other day and I noticed someone placing flowers on a grave. I started thinking about what a powerful and positive influence these individuals must have been for their loved ones to honor them. When it comes to those you have known that have passed on, what do you remember the most about them? To take this thought even further, what would you want everyone to remember about you? The Charles Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol” reminds us that in the end we will be remembered for our love or the lack of it.
In Luke chapter 6, Jesus makes some profound statements concerning how important it is to learn the difference between being courteous and someone that is governed by genuine compassion. These are difficult life lessons which include being sincerely generous, loving our enemies, blessing those that curse us, and doing good to those who hate us. Also included is the golden rule which is treating others the same way you want them to treat you. By the way, reading these passages reveal how little I have learned in my life and how much further I need to develop my spiritual walk with Christ. Nonetheless, let us consider three words that are important to our spiritual advancement. Our first word is reflection. It’s encouraging to think about how God has blessed us throughout our life. If there are difficult and painful events in our past that still trouble us today, we can simply ask Him to heal us and give us strength to keep pressing forward. Forgiveness and restoration is His specialty, and He is always ready to fill us with His love, hope, faith, joy, and peace. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion’s fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore, will I hope in him” Lamentations 3:22-24.
Examination is our next word and we can all agree that experience is an excellent teacher. It’s true, we are sinners and all of us have made mistakes, but when we meditate about our blessings, we can also see the mighty hand of God intervening and delivering us from many harmful situations. The point of conducting a constant personal inventory is to live within an awareness of God’s mercy and discover ways to improve who we are in Him. Direction is our last word, and it’s associated with God having a plan for everyone. We have been given a destiny, a unique blueprint that is custom designed for us to follow. However, His will is not automatically accomplished as we have also been given freedom to choose how we will live. Each moment we make decisions to obey His desires or our own and only when we make the choice to yield and surrender our control can He truly become our Lord and Master.
In closing, I hope you will always remember to never give up on your prayers! God can transform us if that is what we really desire. Daniel prayed for three weeks and heard nothing but later discovered through an angel that God heard the first words of his petition and had been working behind the scenes on his behalf the entire time. A person who refuses to quit is one whom Satan cannot defeat! When we declare that we are hopeless or that God does not care, we have come into a powerful agreement that has unfortunately given us what we believe. God is faithful, and it’s our commitment and confidence in Him that allows His love to change us into what Jesus died for us to be. Keep praying – keep seeking – keep obeying. His Word is true and He cannot fail!