"Many are the plans of a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19: 21 NIV)
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Twentieth-century reformer and martyr Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that until we find something worth dying for, we will not have anything truly worth living for.
Like many, I often wonder how committed I really am to my “to die for” list. In fact, part of my own discipleship journey, especially in pastoral ministry, is to consistently recognize the difference between what is worth dying for (both figuratively and literally) and what is nothing more than a strong personal preference.
Thankfully, the Bible consistently calls us back to God’s ways and priorities. The Psalmist cries out to God, “Teach us to number our days rightly, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
As Christians, we are called to the ways of Jesus – to embrace His priorities, to use His measurements of success, and to value what He values.
This means that growth in grace – the full realization of holiness – involves allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in what should and should not be on our “to die for” list.
Are we willing to give up those goals, measurements, habits, and loyalties that the Holy Spirit deems harmful (or even less important) to our growth in grace? Likewise, are we willing to add to our priorities list those things that God deems important?
These are questions about personal reformation and transformation. They are also bigger picture questions about how God is shaping His Church. Is my national identity more important than my identity in Christ? Are any of the world’s priorities crowding out the priorities of God in my life or in my church?
These are important questions to answer, and the Holy Spirit is waiting to guide us. Can we bring our priorities list to Him this week? Can we let God double-check our “to die for” list to make sure it contains the right things and not the wrong things? This is reformation. This is holiness.
Prayer for the Week:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside by thee.
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
- John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.