Rearrangement vs Total Rennovation

This week, I was watching construction workers rebuilding a bridge on a county road. I love observing things get built. As they were working, I noticed a couple of the workers seemed to just be moving the same materials back and forth. Since this seemed to catch my attention, the next thought I had was, “isn’t this what we do with our lives?”

We can look at our lives and know what is important to us. When something in our relationship gets “out of whack,” we tend to rearrange our priorities to either put that person “first” or include that person more often in what we’re doing. This got me thinking even more.

As I was pondering this, I remembered the verses of Scripture where Jesus says, “whoever wants to follow me must deny himself…” When we look at this, it doesn’t say, “whoever wants to follow me has to keep doing the things you’re doing just put me first.” This would make Jesus as a check-off item on our to-do list. Instead, it says to “deny yourself.” Woah.  Deny ourselves? Jesus can’t mean that, can he?

Here’s how this has played out in my own life. Everything I do used to be done to give me the glory, honor, praise, recognition. As I grew in my faith, I still wanted to do the things I wanted to do. So, I just put the “Jesus stuff” at the first part of my day and went ahead doing what I had planned.

I always felt like I was not being fulfilled in my dreams and plans I was making until…it clicked. I was in my early twenties when I realized it’s not about simply putting Jesus first; it’s about having him be the central focus in my life. The ultimate goal is to deny myself the earthly pleasures and follow Christ. Not so I can show off my humility or so I can look like a ragged person; but so I can experience the true peace and true fulfillment that Christ gives.

Keeping Christ central in my life is not easy, nor does it mean I have or I will have an easy life. What it does mean is that now that I know who I am and Whose I am, my life has purpose. With this purpose, my desires have not gone away, they have been completely transformed and totally renovated to Christ’s desires.

Do I succeed daily? No. But with Christ working in my life and in your life, it is incredible what it really important.

Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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