my friend valorie burton wrote this for her audience. i love the simple truth of these words and am thankful for her willingness to let me share her message. (www.valorieburton.com)
Seven Sacred Ways to Live Your Best Life
In the midst of the shopping, parties and cultural focus on gift giving, it can be tempting to miss the purpose of this holiday - to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
My message to you this week is simple. In fact, it isn't my message at all. I'd like to share seven messages that Jesus taught during his three years of public ministry. As you celebrate Christmas, and reflect on the holiday's true meaning, consider these words of wisdom that Jesus offered for living your best life.
1. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:34) Too often in life, we worry about issues that work themselves out over time. Worrying does not change anything. It is a waste of time, energy and life itself. Plan your steps, but refuse to allow fear of what might go wrong to consume you. Instead, focus on what you can do in the present moment to create the kind of future you want.
2. Do not judge and you will not be judged. (Luke 6:37) There may be people in your life right now who are doing things you don't agree with, perhaps even engaging in behavior that is destructive to them. Choose to love them and pray for them, without judgment. Choose compassion and empathy, perhaps even tough love, but reserve judgment.
3. Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. (Matthew 6:1) Do good and treat people well because it is the right thing to do, not because of the accolades or rewards you might receive from others. Make sure your motives are pure.
4. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12) Humility is freedom - freedom from the pressure to be perfect, keep up appearances, or be better than everyone else. Success is a combination of working hard and being blessed with opportunities, abilities and people who support you. None of us achieves or succeeds solely by our own power. Don't worry about taking credit or making yourself look good. Focus on serving, learning and loving, and the rewards will come.
5. Everything is possible for him who believes. (Mark 9:23) Consider your biggest dream for your life. It is not enough to say you will achieve it. You must believe it. You may not know exactly how it will become true for you. Your first step is to simply to believe it's possible. Say it out loud and often, It's possible! With God, all things are possible.
6. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Most know this scripture as a foundational statement for the Christian faith. But there is something I find intriguing in its wording. It is the connection between loving and giving. God loved us, and therefore, he gave. When you love others, you give of yourself, sometimes in very unselfish and sacrificial ways. Saying you love someone is not enough. Give of yourself - your time, energy, affection and resources and they will truly know you love them.
7. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32) The truth sets you free in many ways. Be truthful with yourself about the issues of your life. Speak your truth in your relationships. Countless relationships fail because one person or both are unwilling to speak from their hearts. Be truthful about what you want and what you are afraid of, and you will gain the strength to step fully into the rich, abundant life you were created to live.
My challenge to you this week: Use divine wisdom to guide you in your interactions with others and the decisions you need to make. Choose to live and love fully and freely.
Journaling assignment:What have you been trying to figure out? What relationship is stuck in a rut? What dilemma are you facing? What does God's wisdom tell you is the right next step for you?