Be careful what you wish for...

Let's recap what we know about wishing...

First of all, wishing is good for you. you were meant to long for and desire for a better future than today. But also, you were designed to become a better person than you are now. Personal growth, at any point on the spectrum, helps us to be more human. Wishing for it is like seeing it in the future and moving towards it becoming a reality.

Secondly, we might be discouraged when our wishes don't come true quickly or maybe, never. We have two options...stop or diminish our wishing, which kills part of our soul (see above), or we keep on wishing. Yes, we risk disappointment again, but we also dare to become something more or experience a fuller life.

The last thing I want to say about wishing is that the object of your wishes (longings, dreams, desires, etc.) is very important. If you simply want what you want, then know that the story is never, ever going to end like you hope it will. Some of what we want is simply an appetite. And no amount ever seems to be enough. The big three in this category are money, sex & power. Many people have achieved or conquered their objectives to find that it wasn't enough. An appetite points us to something that we consume. But humans were created to be generative. Is it wrong to want these things? No, but they will not satisfy your soul.  You were meant for much, much more.  Aristotle talked about this a lot...so did Jesus and some of the writers of the Scriptures. 

Jesus said, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it." If we see our lives as something to keep for ourselves while trying to accumulate more stuff for ourselves, then we end up feeling empty. But if you see your life as having the potential to add value to others, and you give it away, you actually experience more life.

Read what Paul wrote in his letter to the Church in Galatia (moderne day Turkey),

"It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom."   Galatians 5:19-21  The Message

Wow! Does that sound like the world we live in or what?

Now read the next couple of lines..."But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."

So, how do we live God's way? Well, that is pretty much the whole conversation that every follower of Christ and every church should be having with the people around them. The simple version is to love and serve others. Seek to become the person you were meant to be and by doing so you make the world a better place. This is the conversation that Church51 wants to have with Atlanta and beyond. But it starts with you and me. 

Let's continue this conversation in 2016, ok?

Next week: Why do we call "Christmas"... Christmas?