His 'opulence'

The lifestyle of good people is like sunlight at dawn that keeps getting brighter until broad daylight. The lifestyle of the wicked is like total darkness, and they will never know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:18-19)

Ball players from major leagues, actors and actresses, and a myriad of other rather insanely rich people have opulent homes and properties that make eyes pop and people dream about what it would be like to live with such luxury. Nothing screams for attention more than the "gaudiness" of trying to "put on the Ritz" like so many do with their 'oversized' homes. Nothing shows the shallowness of life quite like the need to "show" what one has. What we have is one thing, who we are at the core of our being is quite another! What we have may be on "display" for others to admire and drool over; what we display from the recesses of our heart is what really speaks the loudest though!

The closer we draw to Christ, the brighter our lifestyle shines. The evidence of his presence begins to "ooze" out of the recesses of our heart - we cannot contain what he creates within us - it is meant to be shared. It may not be the same "opulence" other display in their homes or leisure pursuits, but it rises above even the most elaborate of those! Our lives are mirror images of what we spend time facing long enough. Turn toward sports frequently as something that consumes your attention and you will find your home begins to reflect this "affection". You will decorate in the team colors, display a few team memorabilia, and even begin to talk stats about team performance. This is just part-and-parcel with being a "fan" or "devotee" to the sport! Think about considering Christ in the same manner. If we are dedicating just as much time to him, we might see a little bit of him reflected back to us in all we say and do!

We sometimes think the more we focus on something the closer we will be to obtaining it in our own lives. So much of what we spend time focusing on is just an elusive object, position, or scheme. The truth of the matter is pretty plain - we focus on the wrong stuff and then wonder why we don't see more of Christ manifest in our lives. Unless we spend time looking into the mirror of his face, we won't see what he sees! Even when we spend just a little time with him each and every day, we become more and more like him because we begin to see reflected back some of his glory and "brightness" in our lives. It is impossible to behold the presence of God and not be affected by it! In much the same way as "big dreamers" are affected by what they see others 'have', we can be affected by time with Jesus. Many think it has to be dedicated time on our knees, long hours in church, and the like. I am here to challenge that a little bit today.

It isn't the "quantity" of time - it is the quality. Do we spend enough time in the Word? To answer that I would have to ask you if the Word is having an effect on you, regardless of whether you read a verse or two, or an entire chapter. The quantity isn't the issue - it is the quality. Do we spend time in prayer in the "right" way? I am not a "kneeler", so I pray on my feet, sitting in the car on the way to somewhere, and while just sitting reflecting on the beauty at lakeside. Prayer is just talking to God about the regular stuff of life. It isn't always this structured, totally organized methodology. I won't win any points on "organization" as it comes to my prayers. I just let them flow and let God take care of putting "organization" to them. Do we spend enough time with his people? I guess this is up for interpretation for most. There is a balance which must be maintained between it all. The most telling part of walking with Jesus is the evidence of us having walked with him. This is the focus of my life and the hope I have for each of you. When others look upon your "lifestyle", my prayer is that they don't see the "opulence" of the world, but that which comes from having beheld the face of Jesus! Just sayin!

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