"If I really do grow up, Lord, I want to grow up and be just like You."
I don't know about you, but I came to faith in a church culture that focused entirely on belief/faith being the defining characteristic of the Christian life. Receiving Christ was a belief that you came to accept. That was what "mattered."
As I matured in the Lord, though, I realized that while that is true to an extent that there is a much larger framework. We don't "just" subscribe to a belief system, but we have been called to live a life for God's glory. Belief is the first step to living as God's children in the world, but that is sustained through the conscious decisions we make and the life that we live. As John Eldredge wrote, "Life is not a problem to be solved; it is an adventure to live."
Jesus calls us to follow Him, to live life the way He did on the path of simple devotion to God. Operating under the thought "life does not consist in an abundance of possessions" (Luke 12:15) we show God's kindness to others as His imitators (Ephesians 5:1). Today let us put our faith into practice by "living in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27).
As Rich loved to say, "Be God's."
"But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering..." (Philippians 2:17).
Lots of things about the Christian life are backwards: the first shall be last, it's more blessed to give than to receive, blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
One thing in particular that effects our daily lives is that we find the energy and life to continue isn't by focusing on ourselves, but pouring out our hearts and desires to other people in service. A college professor taught me the title of this article: poured out empty, poured out full. We often feel like we are at the end of our rope and don't know how we will continue. God fills us with His grace and peace AS we pour ourselves out to help and serve other people. It is a mutual pouring out that keeps our life fresh and fights stagnation. Maybe we feel dry and stuck at times because we aren't actively looking to be a blessing to other people. Lord give us Your grace to find Your life in living for others. Amen.
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.