I had a conversation with a friend recently which was really eye-opening. He told me about a huge regret that he had. For about one decade of his life, there was no clear mission or vision in his life. He knew there was more to life, but failed to realize what to do with his life. This time was spent on trivial matters that did not at all make a significant impact upon the people around him. When this season ended and a clear call from God was finally realized, the one piece of advice that he had for me was this: Find out what your calling is as soon as possible and put your entire soul and energy into accomplishing that mission.
God created you and I for a purpose.
We do not determine our finish line. What we do determine is our starting line.
If you want to finish this life race well, you must intentionally depart from the starting line – the sooner, the better. I am fully convinced that as a follower of Jesus, the great danger is not ruining our lives, it is wasting our lives. The great tragedy will not be doing bad things, but rather not doing enough good things.
Here are four ways you or I are currently and potentially, wasting our lives:
1. Spending Time Convincing People Who Wont Be Convinced.
Not everyone will agree with you. This is a reality that we must come to terms with, as soon as possible.
I do not have to agree with you, to be friends with you.
Paul tells the Romans that if at all possible from your end, live peaceably with all (Rom. 12:18). Make an exhaustive effort to have peace with everyone. But you don’t have to make an exhaustive effort to convince everyone. State your case, be heard and move on.
Ask yourself this question: Is this really a hill that I should die on?
Some hills you should die on. Some hills you should calmly move on from.
Can you be a wiser steward of your time, spending it with those who are receptive to what you have to say?
2. Not Loving Unconditionally Every Person That You Meet In Life.
Jesus said that the greatest love that can be demonstrated is when you lay down your life for your friends. Jesus said that people will know that we are His disciples by the love demonstrated to His disciples (both current and potential). When you love others unconditionally, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Each person you meet is fighting some sort of battle. What they need is love.
Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is listen to the person, instead of offering a solution for the person.
Sometimes, people are not looking for a solution to their problem, but rather a person that will listen to their problem.
Instead of focusing on solving the problem, we should focus on loving the person.
If you can’t find consistently people in your life that are experiencing love from your life, it is a life lived in waste. We should not love people, based on what they do. We should love them based on what God does. He looks at us not as we are. He looks at us as we are in Christ. We should imitate this behavior because we have been blessed to bless others.
3. Harboring Anger And Resentment Toward People That Hurt You.
Doing this is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will pass away.
It is ridiculous. The Bible calls us to carry each others burdens, not harbor in ourselves burdens that others have placed upon us.
Your heart is too valuable to be used as a harbor where anger and resentment take residence and fill up the available mooring spaces.
The Bible calls us to not even allow a single day to end with us still being angry with someone else. Forgive the person as God in Christ forgave you. Allow the Lord to take care of the other person. You forgiving another person does not at all justify the erroneous behavior of the opposing party. But it does liberate you to love others and have a tank full of grace to extend to others.
4. Not Belonging To A Local Church As A Committed Member.
Somewhere along the lines, we started going to church and stopped being the church.
The greatest impact you can make with your life is committing yourself for life to a local church. I am fully convinced that the church is the hope of the world.
If you say you love Jesus but are not a committed member of a local church then you either don’t love Jesus or the church, or both.
The church body is most healthy and displays Jesus more faithfully when all members use their gifts, collectively. Some of us don’t need to find a better church, we just need to get better at being the church. The only organization that will exist here temporarily and in heaven, eternally is the church.
What a return on investment, right? No other singular institution will fare for eternity, other than the church. I truly believe that if you are not involved faithfully in a local church – it will be very difficult to live a life that is not wasted.
Life is too short to not live it for the benefit of other people. A life lived for “self” is a wasted life and there is no reason to wake up to this reality at the end of your life – because that would be an irreversible catastrophe.
Question: What would you add to this list? How are you currently making an impact with your life? Do you realize the brevity of your life and the minuscule time that we are on this planet, in the scope of human history?