"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." - Romans 12:1-2 MSG
Thoughts for Today
The world seems to go faster all the time, and we seem to be busier all the time. If we look at the example Jesus gave us, however, we see swarms of people around him, plenty to keep him busy. He was always in high demand. Yet he took time alone to pray to his Father in heaven, to visit with friends and new acquaintances, and to rest when he had the chance--even in the midst of a storm. Jesus never appeared to be frantic.
When we strive to reach our goals to feel a sense of value and worth, it's easy to get busier, to stress more, all the time. We are depending on ourselves.
But when we know who we are in Christ and how important we are to him, our outlook on life changes. "Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out." Only as you abide in Christ and depend fully on his strength and power . . . only as you choose to focus on him and follow his good plan for your life . . . will you be able to get out of the busyness and stress traps of life. Only then can God bring the best out of you and help you accomplish his purpose for your journey.
Consider this …
Today's scripture tells us to "readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it." We can only do that as we slow down long enough to focus on the Lord. To let him change us.
Think about some things you can do to reduce the stress in your life. Here are some possibilities to consider:
- Schedule time to read and meditate on God's Word.
- Spend more time being with God--soaking in his presence.
- Journal thoughts that come when you meditate on the Word and talk to him.
- Commit to seeking out a small group fellowship that discusses God's Word and its application to life.
- Find time to rest each week.
- Spend quality time with those you care about.
Father, I am so caught up in the busyness of life I sometimes feel as though I don't even have time to think. I know I've fallen into the trap of feeling as though I have to be the best, do the best. Help me remember that my value lies in being your masterpiece. Help me remember that true strength and power only come from Jesus. Help me focus on him and his plan for my life. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Where is the Image of God in You? by Brad Rymer. The purpose of this study is for us to see how some of the different character traits we have can be used in constructive rather than destructive ways in our lives and relationships so that we are operating more and more in the image of God according to the way He created us. Also, this study can help us better understand others as we build godly relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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