The Well-Ordered Life

Worship is an undivided life.

In Mark 12:28-34 Jesus instructs us to remember the greatest commandment. We must remember that God is one and that we are to “love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength, and all of our mind.” Worship is the outward expression of inward passion. Worship is expressing our love for God and experiencing his love for us. Jesus calls us to a high calling of love, and undivided love.

Life, however, is divided up many ways. Many of us feel like pizzas cut up to serve the masses. Our even worse pulled apart and wasted by greedy little hands. There are many things in life that pull for our affection and our attention.

The undivided life is a well-ordered life. We are all always worshiping (something or someone). There is always something or someone that is getting our highest affection and attention. The question is what or who are we worshipping.

The well-ordered life neither neglects nor ignores the people, responsibilities, and opportunities that require our affection and attention. The well-ordered life simply starts in the right place, more specifically, with the right person, Jesus.

Here are a few questions to consider about the well-ordered life. We should consider the things that are first and greatest in our lives as we consider a life of worship. When first and greatest are wrong life is not well ordered, it is destructive.
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What divides your heart?
What gets your first investment?
What is the greatest source of your emotions?

First does not always mean most. Jesus clearly brings the relationship of the heart to the issue of finances over and over again. Why? “Where your treasure is there the hearts is also.” Is your first investment the Kingdom of God? Does God get first in your finances or do you try squeeze him in?

If someone were to ask me to write the book My Dumbest Life Now, my main principle for it would be Follow your heart. Scripture tells us the heart is “deceptive and is evil above all things.” Do not follow your heart. Guide your heart.

That is why first and greatest matter. Love is not a feeling. It is action. Loving the Lord with your heart means loving the Lord with your investment. Your greatest emotions are caused by things that you care enough about to be emotional about. For some that is college football for others it is comments people make about them on social media. What causes your greatest emotions? When was the last time you wept over the separation from God caused by sin in your life or in the lives of your friends and family?
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What captures your soul?
What gets your first consideration?
What is the source of your greatest anxieties?

The soul is not as easily defined as it is felt. When you need to make a decision, what and who do you consider first? Yes, we must consider our spouse, our kids, the financial realities of this decision, etc. But we must also consider the Lord and his ways…first. That is what loving him with all of our soul means. He gets first consideration.

Our anxieties are a good way to examine the soul. What is causing them? Why? Have you given this issue to the Lord? Are you praying? Are you seeking the truth of Scripture in answering this life issue?
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What receives your strength?
What gets your first time?
What is the source of your greatest exhaustion?

Energy is what we manage more than time. We all only have the same amount of time. What are you giving your best time, the time of each day that gets your best energy? In life there are days where my family gets my best time.. There are other days that work gets my best time. There is one day a week, the Sabbath, where God has commanded my best time and energy. It is a reminder of the fact that I need him first in my time.   The Sabbath is a great reminder that every day and in every thing, God is first.

The things that exhaust you often show you the disorder in your life. There are often life realities that are simply exhausting. We should, however, examine our lives to ensure we are not wasting our life energy on things of little value. Things like what other think of us or how many likes our selfie got on social media. When you realize you are exhausted by things of little value, life is out of order.
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What consumes your mind?
What gets your first attention?
What is the source of your greatest distraction?

What do you think of first when you wake up? What is the first thought in your mind when you get off of work for the day? First attention speaks volumes about where you are spiritually. Now, it does not mean you will not wake worried about the meeting at work or leave consumed with how to make your football team you coach win the next game. We, as Christ-followers, need to take these anxious attention-stealers captive, though. We need to set our minds on things above and not things below.

It is not that these things do not matter. They do. They simply do not matter as much as the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Seek those things first and everything else we be added unto you as well. Take those distractions captive.

What do you need to give up to give God your all?

We must give it up. I realize I said it needs to be ordered not deleted. We must love the Lord so supremely that we completely give him all things. That is what Lordship means. He is master, owner, King, and ruler.

The issue with Lordship is when we give it all to him completely he is in control of the order. We know that there are things that we have at the top of the list that might now come 3rd or 10th or even disappear altogether.

Do you love Jesus that much?

Today, you might need to give it all up for the first time. Pray, “Jesus, I give you all of me.
Today, you might need to give something back to God for the 1000th time. Pray, “Jesus, I give you all of me.”
Today, you might need to give a new overwhelming situation over to God. Pray, “Jesus, I give you all of me.”

Jesus, I give you all of me.

A Parable about Mario Kart

Just last week, Jessica and I were fortunate enough to head to Austin for a conference on discipleship. A true blessing from the Lord is when you have small kids & some family that is willing to keep them for a few days (and nights). All of God’s people said??

We had a great time learning and worshiping (and eating). But as you would guess, after a few days, we missed our 3 crazy little boys. On Saturday, we headed home. As we got closer, I began to imagine my first interaction with the boys. I dreamed of them being off in a distance, and I, like the father in the Prodigal Story, would see them and run to them. And they to me. And we would embrace. And it would be a beautiful reuniting between parents and children.

Didn’t happen.

We saw them. They ran around in circles. To get away. Finally, I convinced them to come. Caleb was the first to speak.
What I expected? “Oh father, I missed you and I love you. I missed your masculine influence on my life!”

Nope. Instead? “Dad, on Mario Kart I opened a new level and a new character and yadda yadda yadda!!!” I can’t even describe the excitement on his face. Ear to ear smile.

At first I was offended (on the inside). I am already not that excited about his obsession with this video game…and that was the first thing he had to say? But then God struck me down in my spirit with 2 things.

Caleb does love you Jonathan. Your son loves you so much he wanted you to know about everything that he loves.
His desire to tell me everything is a sign of his love for me. I know how to turn my wife on (this is clean, I promise). I take her for coffee and we talk openly. We share feelings. We share hurts. It is a deep showing of affection.

This is exactly how God wants us to relate to him. To share with him honestly about our passions, our dreams and even our hurts and our fears. God desires authenticity in prayer because it shows affection.

The second thing He dropped into my spirit was this…we don’t have to be trained to talk about the things we love. Caleb doesn’t need training to talk about Mario Kart. I don’t need a seminar to open my mouth about the Eagles. Jessica? Fingernail polish & shoes. Isaac? Underwear (don’t ask…he’s at that age). Abram? His mom (and he talks LOUDLY about that beautiful woman).

Don’t get me wrong, training to share your faith is valuable. I want you to have it. But you don’t need it to talk about Him. Jesus is better than everything. If you believe that and know HIM…then you LOVE Him. If you love Him, you will talk about Him.
On the spot, God spoke to me. “You love me? Let it be known.”

I love kids. God uses them to teach me so much about living BEYOND myself.

Side note: I like to play Mario Kart too. There, honesty. A sign of my affection to you.