Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Feeling, personal ambition, trend, opinion or God's word; which are you building your life on?

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Those in the construction world will tell you that the foundation you build on goes a long way in determining the durability, integrity and longevity of a building structure, and whether it can withstand pressure.

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It's inevitable, the rains will pour, the winds will blow hard, and the storms will threaten; whether the building holds in place or comes crashing down when these happen will tell what kind of foundation it was built on.

The same is true of our lives. Today, many make the mistake of building their lives and future on the wrong "foundation". They take decisions, make resolutions, choose wife/husband, start new business, enter new relationship, take up new jobs or roles, or define a lifestyle based on things that cannot withstand life's pressures; such as:
- feeling (how they feel about something or someone),
- people's opinion (what others say and think about them),
- trends (what everyone else is doing),
- personal ambition (what I want to become).

What a foundation is and how it applies here
Foundation simply is what a building (any physical structure) is built on. It is dug into the ground, and can't be seen but it is the reason the building is standing. It is the first part of the construction process, it predates the building. Remove the foundation, and the building comes crashing down. The strength, height and longevity of the structure depends on the strength, depth and integrity of the foundation. Largely, a building is as good as the foundation it is built on; a foundation is to a building what the root is to a tree - its source of life.

Applying the same concept, "foundation" here is the basis for our life decisions, resolutions and undertakings. They are not seen, but they are strong and they drive us. It answers the 'why questions' - why you embarked on that project... why you took up that job... why you studied that course.

Interestingly, some of the foundations we build our life on may seem great at first, they'll hold you up for a while and you think you've struck gold; but when the inevitable pressures of life - the rains come pouring down, the winds blow hard, the storms threaten - it all comes crashing down!

How do I mean? Let's take a look at the foundations (the things people build life on) earlier highlighted...
It might interest you to know that quite a lot of people do things because they feel like doing it, or they felt like it was the right thing to do.

Feelings, like British weather, can be pretty erratic and unstable; you can feel like doing something today, but tomorrow you don't anymore. Do you then abandon all that you've put together simply because you don't feel like it anymore?

One of the most damning things a person can do is take a major life decision based simply on how they feel, it usually never turns out well. This is basically because of the unreliable nature of feelings and how they can change quickly!

We shouldn't be led by our feelings, rather we should lead them. Don't run your life on feelings; they are yours, run them instead.

People's opinion
This is an interesting one, isn't it? Seriously, there are people who run on their lives based on other people's opinions!

It may seem unthinkable that people allow other people's opinion run their lives, but listen to people talk about why they are into the business they are in, or why they got married, or chose a course to study in the university. You'll hear things like, "people say I write and speak well, so I thought I should study communication", "my friends in secondary school always said I act very well and that I have an attractive face for the screen, so I felt I should study theatre arts", "I actually wanted to be a makeup artist but people said they don't make a lot of money until you become really popular so I went for something else", "they say if you get married it helps you settle down and focus on the important things, so I thought 'what's keeping me' and got married myself", and stuffs like that.

What others say, think or feel should not be the basis for any decision, especially the major ones, you take about your life. Yes, people can give pointers and guidance, but don't build your decision on them.

The danger of building your life on people's opinion is that 1) opinions change as the people do. As people grow and evolve, their opinions, feelings and thoughts usually follow suit. Do you then change your life direction to reflect the change in opinion? 2) you may not have strong personal conviction to follow through to the end, and thus give up too soon because hey, it's not really your decision to start with.

As the name suggests, "trends" simply is what's new and hot! What's currently selling! What's everyone doing now! What's the direction it's all heading! Trust me, you don't want to build your life on that either! Why, you ask? Well, as the name also suggests, trends change. What is trendy today, may not (most likely will not) be trendy tomorrow. If you take a major life decision based on that, what happens then?

Personal ambition
Admittedly, it's not the worst thing to be ambitious or have personal desires and wishes; we all have them, don't we?

But here's my point, why build your life on your wants and desires than on those of the One who created and gave you life? The One who knows you better than you can ever know yourself! The One who loves you more than anyone else, and even more than you love yourself! I'd rather build my life on the desires and plans of the One who loves and knows me well.

A very secure, far more durable foundation to build on
Here's a very secure, far more durable and better foundation you can build your life and future on - God’s word!

Jesus speaking in Matthew 7 likened building your life on God’s word to building a house on a rock; its depths are safely and firmly dug into an immovable ground! When the storms of life come hitting hard as they surely will, it will stand, as against if it was built on sandy foundation (feelings, trends, others' opinion, ambition).

Please, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's the worse thing in the world to take decisions on your own or make your own plans, or seek the counsel of others in making such plans or observe and follow trends, no! Besides, many have done so and gone on to achieve huge success, right? But it's beyond just achieving success and wealth or fame and influence; for me it's about fulfilling God's purpose for your life! For me, it's about not missing God's original plan; it's about walking in purpose!

One quick thought: how do you pray to God to help you with something He didn't ask you to go into in the first place, that may even be contrary to what He has planned for you? Hmmm... talk about praying amiss!

What is this God's word I'm talking about?
Quick question here! Can you confidently answer, "God told me so" when asked why you embarked on what you are doing? Did God actually speak to you? Or when you hit a snag or reach a seeming dead-end, can you go to God in prayer and say, "Lord, you asked me to do this"?

God wishes to guide us through life like the shepherd He is, and He does that by giving instructions at every turn in our life, especially the major ones. It is then up to you to trust in Him to the point that you listen and do as He says. It is up to you to follow the shepherd's leading or go your own way. It is up to you to either build your life on His word or on some other foundation.

Pertinent questions to reflect on
Is God leading you to start that business, or are you going into it simply because you and people think it's a "good business"?
Is God asking you to leave that company, or are you doing so because you believe you received a "better offer"?
Is God leading you to get married or are you doing so because (1) "I'm getting old", (2) "all my mates are married", (3) "I now have a stable job"?
Is God asking you to start a ministry or are you doing so because you feel you know enough, or that church is lucrative?

Why you should build your life on God’s word
1. God's word is unchanging and cannot (does not) fail
We live in a fast-paced world where things change almost in a flash! We, therefore, need the security that God’s unchanging and unfailing word provides.

God is not influenced or driven by current trends or events; His instructions are not spin offs of whatever is happening or has been predicted to happen, rather they are based on His purpose for our lives, settled even before we were born!

And unlike we humans, God says what He means, and means everything He says, always! And as long as we do what He asks us to, He’s known to always fulfill His part. God never fails!

2. God is principled and trustworthy
For me, this is a big reason I build my life and future on His word - God is principled and trustworthy, He keeps His word!

God has integrity, He has established character; He is not cold today, hot tomorrow, no! You can go to bed on His word, trusting that He’ll fulfill His part!

Business people will tell you the value of integrity in negotiations; more often than not, it is worth more than paper money!

I would rather do the business of my life and future with such a person; someone I can hang on His every word. Has He said? He’ll bring it to pass!

3. God's word is backed by His grace to make it happen
It is one thing to say something, it’s an entirely different thing to do as said; because, as you’d agree, talk is cheap.

I would rather cling onto the One who says and can do all He says – God reserves that exclusive right!

We need grace in our life journey, without it, life becomes unnecessarily hard. You just find that even the best plan isn't working. Build your life on what God is telling you, His grace for accomplishment backs it.

4. God knows tomorrow and factors that in His word
We humans can only live in the present; we have memory of the past and dreams and hopes for the future, but we only exist in the present.

Not God, though. He exists outside of time. What we humans call past, present and future all play out in front of Him. The past is not just memory to Him, nor is the future something He can only dream about. Thus, when He gives you an instruction, He has factored in what WILL happen tomorrow into it.

It truly is liberating and empowering to know that you can’t be stopped in your tracks, that your dreams can’t be aborted, that your life can’t be cut short and you’re convinced of a brighter tomorrow; this sort of assurance and safety is found only in God’s word. Build your life on it. Let your decisions, resolutions, habits, undertakings and relationships be built on His leading and instructions.
Do you build on God's word? Do you allow Him lead you? How does He lead you? Share your experience in the comments section, I'd love to read them.

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