KEES TO LIVING
Nancy Kees, Author
"Growing in Christ"
Would you think it was pitiful if a person decided he/she wanted to be 21 forever? I'm talking about someone with at least average mental capabilities, someone able to make his/her own choices. I don't think I would enjoy being around a person who decided not to grow.
That's how some Christians are. They willingly decide to be 21 forever, never growing in Christ's love, grace, and wisdom. One cannot grow in Christ without communicating with Him. This comes from reading God's holy Word and from praying. Suppose you and your spouse never communicated. What kind of relationship would that be?
I Peter 2:2 says that we should "long for pure spiritual milk." Just like a child must be fed in order to grow and be sustained, we must feed ourselves with God's Word. In II Peter 3:18, Peter tells us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:15, "We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ."
Either you love the Lord, or you don't. If you love Him, communicate with Him, honor Him, obey Him, and grow in His Word. If you rarely ever do what He asks of you (you can find that in the Bible), how can you honestly say that you love Him? How can you hurt Him and then say, " But He loves me; He'll forgive me." Yes, He'll forgive you if you ask Him to do so. However, if you are seriously sorry, why not pick up your Bible and start growing?
"Being Wise With Wisdom"
God told Solomon that he could have anything he wanted, but he chose wisdom. Every time I read the story of Solomon, I remind myself that we all are told to pray for wisdom. It's something we should continually ask for. If we are afraid that just asking for wisdom is too general, then we can ask God to give us wisdom concerning a specific action we are about to take or the idea of a project we are throwing around, for example.
Here is the kicker: a person must use wisdom wisely. I know what you're probably thinking. "That's crazy. How can a person be unwise if that same person has wisdom?" In seeking to make wise decisions, a person naturally needs to observe. Sometimes questions have to be asked. (That one has gotten me into trouble several times.) Reading about things you're interested in helps. Also, we need to try new things. (Of course, we already know that it is unwise to try something that God has already warned us about.) So here is what I meant by using it wisely. You aren't going to like everything you observe, everything you read, everything you try, and you're surely not going to like everything you find out from asking about it. Although you will find many lovely things, you're also going to find hurt, hunger, loneliness, pain and suffering, poverty, and a myriad of other realities which will break your heart. If you empathize deeply, you will experience pain as great or greater than some physical pain. The more you understand, the more imperfections you will see and the more evil will be evident to you.
Now, with that being said, will you be ready? The more you know, the more obligated you are to do something. Jesus says in Luke 12:48, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required...) If you have been given much wisdom, then you are required to put it to use. If you uncover wrongs, you must use whatever God has given you to help make them right; you must use whatever God has given to you to fight evil.
So here is my question for you. Are you ready to pay the price for wisdom?
Have you ever taken a good look at something that needed to be done and decided it could wait till later? Or maybe you needed to call or visit someone but just didn't feel like talking. "I'll do it tomorrow, " you probably said to yourself. My guess is that we've all done something of that nature. We've all put something off that should've been done right then.
I'm reminded of something that happened to me a few weeks ago. I had fun with a friend of mine, not realizing that I would never get to do anything like that with her again. When I hugged her as we left each other, I just assumed I'd see her at church the next day. I didn't, however, because she was working in the nursery. The next Sunday we hugged in the hall but quickly parted, knowing we'd talk again later. And we did....we talked on the phone several times about the hope she had that her doctors in Texas would be able to help her. She, as well as everyone who knew her, was quite aware that she would never live a normal life; she hadn't done that in years. It just never occurred to me, however, that it was just about time for her to leave. She was tough, she had faith, she always came through.....she always came through.
I'm sure that everyone in our church thought at first that she would pull through just like she always did. We were wrong; it wasn't just a bump in the proverbial road this time; it was the end. When I received the news, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I felt something else, too, that I guess one would simply call shock. I just thought it would be like the last few times. I would go to the hospital to see her with one of my stupid hats or wigs or clown noses and make her laugh. She would go back home a few days later just like always.
Here's how I made a huge mistake. I forgot about one of the key lessons the Bible tells us about life....we don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. We can't even be absolutely positive of what will happen in the next five minutes.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1
Why don't we live like there's no tomorrow? Is it the same thing that makes us put off till later what we know should be done right now? We may not be cold, but we surely aren't hot. We know what the scriptures say about that. The last time my friend called me, I was working and couldn't talk. I said I would call her back, but I forgot. Would I have forgotten to call her if I'd known she soon wouldn't be with us? Of course I would not have, but it shouldn't have to be that way. We all should try to live like it's our last day. We will fall short, one can count on that, but it's better than not trying at all. There's a saying I've heard many times. It's not biblical, but it is, none the less, extremely profound. "Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you will still fall among the stars." Here is something even better:
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16