How do you live a productive life?
How do you avoid a life of unmitigated selfishness?
How do you live worthy of God's gift of life?
I may not have found big, significant, complete answers to these questions yet, but I'm finding little ones along the way.
Perhaps, fruitfulness starts as softly and silently as the little grapes that budded quietly and shyly on my neighbor's vine, in tiny bunches like a baby's fist, half hidden by leaves, after days of fruitless (pun intended) looking for them. (I took the photo above with as much hushed care as with a sleeping baby.)
A productive and useful life of service and selflessness is inevitably tied to things, habits,
as small and tasteless as getting up early. Denying the flesh, for a healthy reason--not to feel self-righteous, or to punish yourself, or because you feel you don't have a choice--not because you want to torture your flesh, but because you want to train it to become a more useful creation of God.
Granted, of course, the other extreme is not 'more' God-glorifying. Getting up at five everyday--even if to do your devotions--doesn't boost your righteousness in God's eyes when our hearts and our motivation for doing so are warped.
Getting up at nine six times in a row doesn't mean you've forfeited your right to God's gift of life. There is a place for happy, lazy mornings where pillows are your best friends and sleep is truly the gift of God (believe me.)
But most of the time, for most of us, we're really just complacently sitting on our bums...not because we need to or planned to or can, even, but mostly just because we've never thought of not giving in to that wordless, thoughtless impulse. I can think of several habits which are really just weaknesses, where I take it as an unquestioned entitlement to just unthinkingly do what my flesh tells me to.
What do your lifestyle habits say about the importance you give to your flesh?
I should be developing habits and skills which will equip me to live more fruitfully and usefully--rather than just waiting for a mission or purpose to fall into my life, and assuming I'll be prepared for it.
How much is your lifestyle dictated by the pleasing of your flesh?
Aim for fruitfulness--not the flesh--to become the habit which characterizes your life.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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