For those that are tracking with me, I am sharing quotes that I have accumulated over the years that have resonated with me. My hope is that perhaps one of them will resonate with you. The quote that I want to highlight this week is one that I heard some years ago. It has shaped my life and continues to challenge me going forward. It is a quote I first heard while listening to a podcast from LifeChurch.
“If you want what everyone else has then do what everyone else does. If you want what few people have then do what few people do.” (Craig Groeschel)
I have met many people (and have had the thoughts myself) who wish their lives were different. They want to be thinner, have a better marriage, better family, better job, deeper faith, more friends, etc. Yet they continue to live their lives as they always have, doing what everyone around them does and wondering why what they wish they had seems so far away. They blame circumstances, other people or a whole host of other things when the real culprit is simply found in their repeated behaviors.
A good example of this in my life is food and weight. I would see people who were fit, energetic and slim. I wished that I was like that and wonder why nothing ever changed (while eating my fourth slice of pizza). I realized that if I wanted the level of fitness and kind of body that the majority of people do not have, then I have to eat more healthily and exercise more than what is promoted by the world around me.
This concept is true in marriage and relationships. It is true in vocation. It is true in regard to faith. Whoever wants that great marriage, the close relationship with God or better friendship, has to be willing to do what most people will never do. It takes discipline. It takes time. But as time goes on, you will find that you actually DO have that thing that few people have. It is rare and it is worth it.
Have a great Easter week!
As I mentioned last week, I keep an ever-expanding list of memorable quotes or sayings that I read, see or hear that cause me to think and consider. They come at the oddest times and not always where you would expect. I am sharing these in the hopes that one (or some) of these quotes might resonate with you and cause you to think and consider at some level. The quote this week is one that challenges me on an almost daily basis.
"Your glory is too small a thing to live for.” (Andy Stanley)
This is one of those sayings that requires me to look at it a couple of times, but it is powerful. If what I live for is me only, I have set my sights too low. If what matters to me is what I accomplish, what I look like to others, how I am perceived, or how I feel about myself, then I have relegated myself to something small and unimportant. I think this quote is true and applies regardless of what you think of God or faith. A truly significant life has a purpose that drives it that is far greater than the smallness of itself and its comfort. This means having an outward focus. It means living intentionally with the good of someone or something greater in mind. As a follower of Jesus, I believe this finds ultimate fulfillment in living for the glory of God as expressed in living for others. If my life is lived to love people, then in the end God gets the glory and it is all worth it. If I live my life so I get the glory, it is a pretty sad existence.
I know this and I believe it with all my heart, yet in the day-to-day routine of life, I find myself often living as though what matters most is me. I worry about what people think, what makes me happy, what I am going to do next that will be fun or relaxing or simply what milestone I can achieve. It takes an intentional decision to think of what really matters and orient my activities, thoughts and dreams around it. This has driven my decisions, albeit imperfectly, for many years. Because when my life is over and the memory of me and all I have done is gone, there is only one whose glory remains. If God and his purposes is what I have lived for, then it will have value for eternity. That gives me hope. Whose glory do you live for? Yours? Or something (or someone) far greater?
I keep a document on my phone that is ever expanding. This note document is a collection of quotes and sayings that I read, hear or observe that I find really helpful. They are good enough that I do not want to forget them so I write them down. I figured that for the next couple of months, I would simply share some of those with you in the hopes that you may be inspired or challenged by one or more of them in the same way I was. So let me begin with a quote that I had read a few years ago but popped up again in something I was reading recently.
“God will not trust you with more success than your character can bear.” (Henry Blackaby)
My first reaction was that this is not true. I can think of people who have lots of success who are thoroughly bad people. I see it in the news, in sports and entertainment. But I believe the essence of this quote applies to those who are followers of Jesus. As I follow Jesus, he is far more interested in the development of my life, my character and my relationship with him than he is in the end result of the things that I do for him.
When I think back on my life, I am actually thankful that God did not give me the successes I craved at different times because, if I am honest, it would have been a recipe for disaster. I simply would not have handled it well. It’s not that Jesus didn’t want me to succeed, but he never wanted my success to distract or derail my life from what is truly important.
What might this look like?
My prayer for you and me: May our character grow so that it can bear the weight of what God desires to trust us with!
Weldon Lemke has been leading Hope Chapel since 2009 with a passion to see people come to know God and grow to maturity in Him.