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 Square One Parable from Disney World

After a long time of saving, my wife and I were finally able to have the opportunity to take our 3 boys to Disney World last month. It was an amazing time for making memories for our family.

One memory, and ultimately a constant reminder, comes from my boy Isaac (our 3 year old). My 39″ tall 3 year old rode on EVERY ride he was able to. Let me explain why this is a big deal. I have vivid memories of my childhood going to amusement parks with my dad, and him begging me to ride the rides. I would cry (and he would laugh…in a loving way).  I was probably 13 years old. (Please, no comments).

Back to Isaac. He is THREE! And he rode EVERYTHING he was allowed to.

Ride after ride, he would stay close to me in line. He would stay quiet. Then, right as we were to get on the ride, he would lean up toward me and say “Dad, I have to go potty.”  I’m no fool. I would tell him we would go immediately after the ride. You see, I knew he was making an excuse. He was afraid. He wouldn’t come out and say that, but he was uncertain. He didn’t know what was about to happen. For all he knew, literal pirates with real swords, shooting real cannons would be commandeering our little ship. By all accounts, he knew he was about to be in a hopeless situation.

But he went anyway.

He sat by me on every ride. He didn’t say a word. He’d put one hand in his mouth (nervous habit) and put his other hand on my leg.  When moments were tense, he squeezed. He never changing his gaze. He never showed the fear on his face that was expressed in his hands.

Amazingly after every ride, Isaac would look at me and smile. “Dad, that was my NEW FAVORITE ride!” I think he did it more in relief that he was still alive after it was over. On the last day there, I was so impressed with his courage that I finally asked Isaac why he still insisted on going on the rides even if he was so afraid. Why would he not admit his fear and stay back?

He looked up, full of hope and knocked me back with these words: “Cause you’re with me dad.” When things were uncertain and hopeless, he trusted me.

I was just reminded what childlike faith looks like.

God does some of His best work in hopeless situations. While life is uncertain, Jesus is not. While our power is limited, God is limitless. While we can be shaken, He is the rock. 

When Jesus is the Cornerstone, our response is worship.

For me, worship is not a job or a hobby, it’s not what I do for fun when I could be sleeping in on a Sunday morning. I don’t sing because I like to, I sing because I am compelled to. I am compelled because I am filled with possibility and hope and blessed assurance that this life is not all there is.  And everything I have in this life is His. I have passion for what Christ has done on the cross, and for how he saved me, profoundly and personally.  It isn’t something I do on my off-time; I live to worship – in my mornings, throughout my days, as I go to bed.

Maybe there are moments where I have to tighten the grip of my hands to admit my fear, but my gaze remains constant. My resolve is true. My eyes are constantly fixed on Jesus and I will worship. What about you?