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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Are you aspiring or ambitious?

Have you ever experienced one of those "empty-head" moments when you just do something and then look back and say to yourself, "Now why'd I do THAT"? I think we probably all have at some point.  We just plunge right in and then in retrospect, we kind of wonder how we ever got as "messed up" as we did. It was probably because we had one of those times when we just didn't stop long enough to consider the consequences of what we were doing - the scripture calls this being "empty-headed".  These empty-headed decisions are really not built on a solid foundation, therefore they will not turn out well. Our conduct may be fun for a while, but eventually empty-headed decisions catch up with us.  Mindful decisions are marked by attentiveness, awareness, and great care.  These types of decisions make for a much better outcome - their foundation is a lot stronger and more enduring.

An empty-head thinks mischief is fun, but a mindful person relishes wisdom. The aspirations of good people end in celebration; the ambitions of bad people crash.  The speech of a good person clears the air; the words of the wicked pollute it.  (Proverbs 10:23, 28, 32 MSG)

I have to ask - are you a planner?  If so, would you say you lean more to the side of being a "schemer" or a "developer"?  A schemer leans to the side of embracing the impractical - they have a plan, but it may not be well thought out.  The developer leans to the side of development - allowing one piece to build upon another until they see the result of the finished work.  Scripture promises the planner a much better outcome than the schemer.  Why?  There is a tendency for the planner to stop long enough to get God's perspective on the matter, while the schemer just takes off, hoping God will back them in their plan.  I have to admit, I have been on both sides of the fence on this one!  I can be the best of planners and the worst of schemers!  So, I speak from experience on this one.  I have had some of those empty-headed moments - but I'd like to think I have come full circle to becoming more mindful.  A mindful person really has their "mind full", but with the right stuff!

The godly rest secure - because they can do so when their plans are made and acted upon in God's sight.  The fool might just make a few of their decision under the cover of "darkness" - kind of like they hope to "fly under the radar" on some of them!  It took me a long while to realize God doesn't need the radar!  His powers of observations far outdo the radar - so there is really no "flying under the radar" with him!  Mischief - ever stop to consider this word? It dawned on me it could be written as "MIS-Chief".  In other words, the control (chief) in our lives is "misplaced".  We determine to be "chief" instead of keeping God at the center.  Anytime we do this, we are open to some pretty empty-headed decisions and actions!  Mischief is really anything which will bring hurt or damage - getting anything but God at the center of our decisions is sure to produce both.

Aspirations - the goal or objective of your focus.  The goals or objectives of a godly man or woman end in celebration - because the desire, longing, or aim of their hearts is to please only one.  The godly are contrasted to the foolish who don't have aspirations, but ambitions.  Ambitions are some pursuit which will result in a distinguished honor, power, fame, or even wealth.  Some might think aspirations and ambitions are closely related - they wouldn't be wrong, but it is the "intent" behind each which determines if they are right for a child of God.  The focus of our minds, hearts, and spirit is what is brought into question here.  If it is God and no other (including ourselves), then we are likely pursuing aspirations born in our heart by God himself.  If we really have no idea where God fits into the picture of whatever we are pursuing, it is likely an ambition and might just be one of those "empty headed" moments!

Aspirations and ambitions come across in our speech.  What we are entertaining in our minds eventually comes across in what we are saying.  The godly lean toward speech which is helpful and productive - the fool tends toward the speech which really sounds good, but isn't backed by anything of real value.  The wise offer words of good advice - the fool cannot help but deceive others because he is deceiving himself by his own empty-headed decisions.  The wise will speak what ends in blessing to the hearer, and ultimately even brings blessing into their own lives.  The fool will speak what tends to corrupt, ending in destruction to those who hear and embrace the fool-hardy advice of the empty-headed.  Our words are good indicators of the condition of our soul and emotional well-being.  If pure, then our words are usually reflective of a heart right with God.  

I want to end with another verse from the same portion of scripture this morning:  When the storm is over, there’s nothing left of the wicked; good people, firm on their rock foundation, aren’t even fazed.  (vs. 25 MSG)  Putting this all together, here's what we can observe:

- When we allow our minds to be governed by the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we make better decisions.  The "quality" of our decisions to act are based on a solid foundation.  The result of the "well-planned" actions which are the result of having the right focus will end in better outcomes.

- We can have a lot of ambition and still totally miss the mark in the end. Ambition alone will not stand the test of time, or the challenge of testing. We need the desires of our heart to be filtered through the mind and heart of Christ. Until this occurs, we are just seeking ambitions - we never really move into aspirations.

- What stands the test of time is not the empty-headed decisions, but the well-rounded decisions of a heart willing to wait on God for his direction. Getting his perspective makes all the difference when the storms challenge our decisions.  Just sayin!