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Archive for January 11th, 2023

Life Transformation

Written by Gary Abud, Jr., a contemporary educator and teacher.  This is excerpted from his article “God Pursued Me and Transformed Every Part of My Life.”

MEDITATION:

I grew up going to church on Sundays and going through all the motions of the church tradition in which I was raised. Yet, even still, it was not a personal faith for me, and it never really changed my life. I was a cultural Christian at best, punching the clock, as it were, on Sundays, but living as if God didn’t exist Monday through Saturday. It just seemed to me like everything on Sundays was done to please God so He would accept us, and that was all that mattered—what I did, not what He had done. That made me feel like I had control over how God responded to me, because the emphasis was always placed on what we did on Sundays, while the rest of the week didn’t seem to matter.  I grew tired of just going through the motions and found the whole thing disingenuous…So, I kicked God out of the car of my life in pursuit of my new god—career—and put myself in the driver’s seat of my life. Little did I know that ambition was actually the driving force, and I was but a passenger. For quite some time that approach panned out well; it brought me great worldly success. Yet with every achievement, I continued to feel emptier inside. I sacrificed everything, including my family, on the altar of career and built my identity on my success. And it worked—until it didn’t anymore… At that time, I encountered faithful Christians from around the U.S. in an exclusive leadership development program in which I was participating…I was drawn to the teaching of Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath. I found a Jesus who was unlike any I had ever encountered before. This Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their empty religious traditions and offered a rest in Himself from our striving. This introduced me to a Christianity that was not about what you did to get God’s love, but how God’s love could get your heart—and that would transform your actions.  This concept ran so counter to my lifelong experience with faith that it profoundly affected me. I was missing the Gospel before then; I couldn’t fully grasp why the Good News was good news for me…I came to realize that there was not only a different God out there than the one I had constructed for myself, but that there was also plenty of good evidence to consider the claims of Christianity as sound… I learned that what we know about God must come from what we know about Jesus, because He is God in the flesh. And that comes from knowing what God has revealed to us in His Word, which teaches us about God so that we might know Him rightly. It was a working-from-the-finish-line-backward approach, I might say, to a right theology…It not only ignited, but fanned into flame a newfound desire for God that led me to see, love, and worship Jesus as king—to worship the God of scripture, not the god of my own making.

PRAYER:

Written by Paige Deane, a contemporary author.

Lord, you are my God. You take priority over everything in my life. I am your disciple and I will put you first. Lord, help me to leave everything behind for your sake. Help me to hold fast to your truth, your commands, and your desires for my life. You are the most important thing. There is not even a second. You are the only priority in my life. Help me to view everything else only through you as my one priority. Help me to stay grounded in what I know to be true and reject anything that is a lie. Amen.

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