I have been using the 31 days of prayer guide for our region and the August 23 prayer request of praying against self-suffiency really got me thinking. Living here has made me think of how self-sufficient I really was when I lived in America. I can list a line of accomplishments like Paul did in Philippians 3:4-7. It makes me feel good about myself to think of what I have done. It makes me feel special to know that I have achieved something tangible. Of course, that is just a deception. Just as the rich are deluded in thinking that their wealth is a safe wall around them (Proverbs 18:11). Here, my past has no relevance. Do things or achievements really set us apart in the eyes of Jesus? When I'm having a hard day, it becomes easy to say, "If only I had ____________ (a maid, more time, different job), then everything would be better today." As if things or achievements could smooth out any unpleasantness. And then that thought leads me to comparing myself to others. "I wish I could____________," or "I wish I was ______________."
There are moments when I have mourned for some possessions we had to leave behind. Why? It's just stuff! But why does stuff mean anything to me anyway? Somehow, in our human mind, we attach our heart to tangible things and sense a need to hold these with a clenched fist. Isn't this the same idea when our children ask for new toys every time we go shopping?
What if you strip away everything - family, friends, possessions, your church, your ability to make your own choices, your vehicle, your money, your language, your skills, Chic-Fil-A, or Wal-Mart? What if no one really cared how many degrees you have or how much your job pays? We can unknowingly hold onto these things instead of holding onto God. It can get so comfortable we don't even see our need for God in the daily, common life.
Sometimes we think it's greener on the other side of the fence.....but there really isn't another side of the fence. How we live and the choices we make show where our heart is. I am honestly asking, "what is my goal?" If I really wanted to know God would I do anything different? Would I change something in my life? What would I have to give up? What am I really holding onto? My answer should be nothing!
"My goal is to know Him....forgetting what lies behind (let go of it all) and reaching forward to what lies ahead.....I press on to the goal of God in Christ Jesus."