More God, Less Me

Keeping life simple is a key ingredient in the recipe of recovery. Sobriety—not using or doing that thing that makes your life unmanageable—depends on living a life marked with gratitude and humility. There is no room for boasting or making much of myself. Life can’t be all about me.

Rather, life today is more about others. How am I impacting the people God has placed in my circle of influence? I try to go about this quietly, avoiding drawing attention to myself. By nature, for a variety of reasons (including ego) minimizing my efforts proves to be challenging for myself at times.

He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

       but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

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You’ve all encountered the drunken braggarts at the local bar. Our fish tale keeps growing more preposterous with each rendition. Our hey-look-at-me circus builds into an explosive rant-filled dance begging for the spotlight to shine on us longer and brighter. Braggadocio is the life recovery calls us to leave behind. We no longer look to shine the light on ourselves but strive to build up others, helping them be all God intended them to be. We know that the Lord has a plan and that plan does not mean to do us harm. We are His servants, no longer slaves to our addictions, free to let God’s light shine through us, so that He may be glorified, not ourselves; so that others might benefit, not us alone.

We maximize God and lessen ourselves. We lift up others without highly regarding ourselves. We do it for the love of God and the love for others.

We recognize that we are lucky to be alive and whatever life we have is grand. Ours is a grace adventure, basking with gratitude and walking in humility.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

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Otherwise, our world is bound to come crashing down around us. We have to ensure we keep first things first, taking care to daily order our priorities. Life in recovery is, after all, a day by day endeavor. Our foundation, secured through our Savior, must be built on prayer and God’s Word if it is to stand. The Lord must grow in us, and we must make ourselves smaller to make room for Him. Who are we, after all, that God would concern Himself with us? Yet, we know God does. We must try to learn and understand His ways and His thoughts, so that we can make them ours, letting His light shine brightly through us. In recovery, our life becomes about God and others and less about us.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The Gospel of Mark 12:28-31

Lent 2017

How Are You Observing Lent This Year? With today being Ash Wednesday, believers around the world start observing Lent. Lent is the annual time of fasting and reflection that begins the forty days before Easter, excluding Sunday. This year, Lent runs from March 1 to April 16 (Easter Sunday).

Lent commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, described in Matthew 4:1-11. Scripture tells us that after his baptism, the Spirit sent Jesus into the desert where he was tempted by Satan while finding clarity and strength to resist temptation. Afterward, Jesus began his ministry.

How will you observe Lent this year?

Our lives are filled with busyness and distractions diverting our attention from the things of God and focusing on the demands of man. Lent helps us return our eyes to Jesus and realign our lives with the Lord. Through the practices of prayer, service, and fasting, we can exercise our spiritual muscles and take our minds off of ourselves and turn them to the Lord and to others. We can actively work on the concept that God must increase, and we must decrease if we hope to serve the Lord faithfully and obediently in whatever He has called us to do. And yes, as believers, we all have a calling and a purpose.

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Here are some ideas that you might consider if you are still searching for a way to actively observe Lent in 2017.

  1. Commit to a deeper study of God’s Word, studying something specific for the next 40 days. For example, you might engage your spouse in a study of holiness and focus on passages that teach and demonstrate God’s righteousness.
  2. Devote time each day to specific prayer. Perhaps there is a member of your congregation that is in desperate need for God’s healing touch. Spend 10-15 minutes each day praying specifically for them and their needs.
  3. Forgive someone who has hurt you that does not deserve it. You could study forgiveness as it is taught in Scripture to prepare your heart to do this.
  4. Fast from social media or television. You could set boundaries and fast from these things for certain periods of time each day if you are unable to go an entire 24 hours without checking your Facebook page or catching up on the nightly news.
  5. Pray for people as you walk your neighborhood. Make it a point to go for a walk through your neighborhood in the morning or evening and pray for each home you walk by and every person you pass by.

Repentance and Revival start with us. Lent offers each of us as believers to recalibrate our lives and get them back in tune with the Lord and demonstrate our love for others.

I’ll be praying for you.