Why am I here? Has that thought ever entered your mind? Are you fulfilling the purpose for which you were made? A couple of Sundays ago, I shared a story about my wife and I getting on the wrong road while in route to my grandmother’s house in Florida. Because we missed the turn, we spent an extra two to three hours in route to Ft. Pierce, Florida. What would it be like to take the wrong road in life but not discover your mistake until your life was over? There are a lot of important topics for us to consider, but this one is right up at the top. As I look back over my life, I have made so many mistakes. Some of them were a result of ignorance, others came from obstinance, while still others happened simply because of sin. I can’t go back and change any of my failures from the past. I can, however, change the mistakes in my future that have not yet been made. One of my favorite poems is this: “I can’t go back and start over again, but I can start from here and make a brand new end.” Are you willing to start today to change your destiny? Over the next 40 days, I plan to share several blogs a week to challenge us to think about our real purpose. I encourage you to pick up a copy of Rick Warren’s book “What On Earth Am I Here For?” and read a chapter a day (It was formerly called “The Purpose Driven Life”). Read my blog and share some thoughts as we journey together. I would love to hear from some of you who have already started this journey. You may have read chapter two today (which is the chapter you should be on if you started the journey with the SonRise Baptist Church family on Sunday). What are your thoughts so far? Have you been to small group yet? Is God doing anything special in your life so far? You may have read “The Purpose Driven Life” a while back. How did God use Dr. Warren’s book in your life when you read it the first time? I look forward to hearing from you.
The most interesting headline of the day is, “Beetles Kill George Harrison Memorial Tree.” The pine tree that was planted in memory of the former Beatles star, George Harrison, in Griffith Park, was killed by pine beetles. The irony is not lost on anyone, and the story made me think of the truth with which we all live: we are our own worst enemies. I know the illustration breaks down a little, but it does make me reflect upon the fact that in many circumstances, I am hurting myself with attitude choices, lack of personal discipline, and choosing to, sometimes, live a life out of balance. What do we do to stop the attack before we too are destroyed?
First, we must acknowledge that we are hurting ourselves and be specific with the lifestyle choices we are making that cause us personal damage. Most of the time, we do not get past this step because we are not willing or able to be fully honest with ourselves. Can you admit that a particular habit is really harmful? Can you acknowledge that you cannot overcome your addiction without outside help? Will you agree that your eating habits are killing you? This step of admitting should also include admitting our failure to God. Repentance is a critical part of the change we want to experience. Admitting our failures and frailties is an important part of the process to healing and personal victory.
The second thing we must do is replace the harmful activity with something that is helpful or God-honoring. I remember when I was a child that I was having a hard time getting an ugly thought out of my mind. My mother told me to replace it with something that is good. I think this is the message of Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” If we are going to follow this admonition, then it means there are some things we should choose not to dwell upon. Thinking about things is not our only downfall. We need to also change our actions. If I am eating foods that are harmful, then I need to make a conscious choice to change my eating habits. If I have a habit that is hurting me spiritually, emotionally, or physically, I must replace it with something that is helpful and wholesome.
A third thing that will help us is accountability. Sometimes we find the strength we need to chart a new course by simply telling someone else of the changes we are going to make. That resolve can be strengthened even more when our friend or family member asks us about our commitment over the next days and weeks. This is part of the strength of real community. We actually share our strength with someone else by holding them accountable to the commitments made.
Are you attacking yourself? Now is the time to stop. While other steps can be added to give you victory, these three will certainly put you on the road to a new you.