In our day-to-day lives we come across many things tugging at us, grasping for our attention, our money, our time, our love, and our devotion. If we are fortunate, we have the help of the Holy Spirit to keep us in line with what is really important. In order to know what we can loose, we have to know what we are seeking. What is truly worth having for you?
As a believer, our main focus in life is to love the Lord with everything we are, love our neighbor as ourselves, and through that, share the good news of the gift of eternal salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The hope, joy, and love that comes from a life of devotion to Jesus is what is truly worth having and worth it all. It is worth all sacrifice, all rejection, and all loss.
The goal of this article is to identify the areas that are moveable, that can be relocated or let go of, in order to seek and find what is necessary for a life devoted to God and full of love for ourselves and our neighbors. Join me as we take a stroll through the 10 things that we must lose in order to find what is truly worth having.
Photo credit: Conner Ching/Unsplash
Pride is an ugly thing that creeps into our lives very easily. We can become arrogant and prideful when we start thinking we know best. I dare say that the issues and concerns that have filled our ears through the news over the past two years have become areas of strife and pride. Everyone thinking they know best based on other’s opinions that they know best. The cycle is ongoing. As Proverbs 11:2 tell us, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Becoming wise in the world’s eyes is impossible and a dangerous goal. Remaining humble, seeking God’s wisdom through Scripture and trusted mentors, and going to God in prayer can give us the Godly wisdom that we are truly after.
2. Material Things
I found myself shopping a lot more over the past two years during quarantine. I’ll admit it felt fun to be able to store up items when I felt like everything else was being taken away from me minute after minute. Having items is not the sin, but idolizing these items, becoming greedy for more, and coveting what others have sure is. As we are reminded in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Remembering that a new sweater will not give me the fulfillment or love that I am longing for is a reminder that I, and maybe you too, need to hear.
Ask anyone close to me and you will get the same answer that my happy place is being under my comfy blanket on my couch, with the rain falling outside my window, a good book or cross stitch project in my hand, and something yummy to drink. This section isn’t meant to say that our creature comforts are bad or that we have to be uncomfortable all of our lives to serve God. What’s most important is to realize that our goal in life is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in how we live, talk, and work. If we think we can be a good enough person or do the right thing to enter heaven, we are sorely mistaken. As it says in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” We have to give God our life direction, His will must prevail, in order to find what is really worth having. It won’t always feel comfortable either, but nothing worth having is.
This is a hard one. Letting go of friends and acquaintances that are no longer in your path to serving Jesus can be difficult. I wrote an article a number of years ago on how some friends are not forever. As hard as it is to agree, sometimes the best thing for us is to move on from a relationship that has stalled us spiritually or is leading us down a road that is not God’s plan for us. Sometimes it’s the people that are closest to you that won’t understand God’s plan for you. The disciples were instructed on how to react when rejection came near in Matthew 10:14, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Jesus experienced rejection and questioning from those who were the closest to him. Love people, serve people, but don’t be afraid to lovingly let them go from your inner circle if it means following Jesus down your life’s path.
I love a good plan. I often feel that 50% of the fun of something is just in the anticipation of it. While planning can certainly be used for good to help with order and logistics, I’d say that the majority of what good God has in store for us is not something we can plan for. What plans do you have for your life? Maybe it’s really a hope because it’s something you cannot control even if you wanted to. Maybe your plan isn’t bad but it’s not the best purpose that God has for you. Are you willing to lose your plan for God’s best? As we see here in Psalm 33:11, He is safe to trust and faithful “...the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
Over the past two years we have all experienced more isolation. Some people have thrived without distractions in their regular routine while some have just seemed to get through. What is heartbreaking to me is how much more lonely most of us really are – yet we stay in that spot because it has become comfortable. It can become a habit to begin to depend on ourselves, not ask for help, or fear you’re bothering someone if you reach out. We need each other, y’all. If the pandemic taught me anything it’s just how precious connection is with fellow believers. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds me that “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Praying for one another, checking in with each other, and really listening to each other – that help and connection is truly worth finding.
I wish I could tell you to just snap your fears away, but this lost piece of our daily puzzle will have to be something that most of us actively work to lose on a daily basis for a while. Fear of the unknown, of sickness, of getting that phone call, of bad test results, of the next newsworthy and outrageous scene – it’s all a tangled mess that can keep us wrapped in fear. What we have to remember is this in Proverbs 29:25: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Trust in the Lord. Trust and don’t be afraid. Take it one day at a time and let your fears go.
8. Old Habits
Old habits die hard. That’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot. Whether it’s to justify certain behaviors or to give us grace when we slip up from time to time, it can be very true. Maybe during the pandemic some of your old habits crept back up again. Maybe obsessive thoughts, unhealthy food choices, or late-night internet hours crept into your upheaved day-to-day schedule. You are powerful to change those habits, I promise. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we are reminded that “...the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Let’s tap into the Holy Spirit’s helpline and give up some of those habits that have taken us off track to find His best again.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Benjamin Davies
9. Human Nature
We are sinful humans and we have to remember that we are not too strong to fall. With God’s help we can stand firm on His strength and power. When temptations come at us, we can loosen their grip and find His grace. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 reminds us that we are in this together: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” He can help you find a way out.
As a freelance writer with a blog, it’s a passion of mine to share the good news of Jesus with others in written format, mostly done by sharing on social media. I have had to lose the desire to be seen, read, or liked over and over. Even if it comes from a sincere place, it can quickly turn from wanting others to read the good news to wondering how many people liked the person who wrote it. Do you find yourself wanting to be liked, shared, or followed? We must lose the desire to be seen and on top and let Him use and work through us in His perfect way and time. In the end, we all want to lose what is not God’s best, to find what is; we all want to hear these words in Matthew 25:23 in His loving presence one sweet day: ““His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” That, my friends, is truly worth having.