There are a lot of self-help articles, blogs and books out there. This may very well end up like many of those. I do want to go about it a bit differently though.
Our youth ministry is going through a series entitled, “Happily Never After.” The title of my talk was “4 Ways to Ruin Your Life.”
Sounds encouraging and uplifting, right?! Maybe a bit of reverse psychology is involved. Either way, I felt it worth while to share with everyone, even if you weren’t there to witness it. So here we go...4 ways to ruin your life!
(Side note: this point, although not in whole, was taken from a sermon preached by Steven Furtick entitled “The Power of Potential.”)
Look for potential in people rather than patterns.
Did you read that wrong? Nope. Potential is not the end game. I am glad that my wife saw the potential in me when she started dating this young 19 year old with nothing to offer. On the other side, I would say she is now glad that she married someone with the right patterns and habits more so than potential. That person you enjoy being around, the one you may want to start a relationship with, or even that co-worker you have started spending a lot of time with may have the potential to become a good friend. But be warned! Watch their patterns.
They may be Solomon in wisdom or David in praise or Abraham in faith or Joshua in war. But if they are not Joseph in discipline they will end up like Samson in destruction!
Choose patterns over potential every time.
Spend it all and give nothing!
That’s right. Go ahead, ruin your life. It’s not like you have just one!
“The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
Money is not evil, the love of money is. The love of possessions is. The love of stuff is. The love of the American dream is. I can show you very quickly what you love by looking at your checkbook, if those are even a thing anymore!
I wrote a post a while back, that you can read here, talking about finding out what you love most by what makes you angry. Do you value possessions over people? It’s time to do an inventory of our resources. God has given everything to us: talents and money. And He has allowed us to keep 90%. That sounds like a great deal!
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ”
Luke 6:38 NLT
Live entitled, not humble.
Entitled: to give yourself a title; to think you deserve more than you actually do.
We live in a country very much like this. If I’m honest, I can be very much like this. Having a feeling that somehow I am owed something. Let me let you in on a secret: I am not and neither are you.
In a world of people screaming what rights they have and are entitled to, don’t forget that the only right Jesus ever paraded around was His right to die.
He gave all of them up for you and for me. And I for one, am thankful that He did. A little humility and thankfulness could go a long way. People who do things that count in this life usually don’t stop to count them.
This is all about how, or rather how much, you think of yourself. I had to learn a long time ago that my insecurities were in fact selfish. When I walked into a room of people my thoughts were, “what do they think of me?!” The focus of my thoughts? Me!
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” - C. S. Lewis
4. Your Soul
This one is easy: Sin more. Repent less.
All have sinned. - Paul
Sin is fun. - Moses
Conclusion: All like to have fun!
In all seriousness, I hope you fully understand that this Christian life is not a checklist or a bunch of “Do’s and Dont’s.” On the other side, something as simple as saying don’t sin, is not to be taken lightly. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “I don’t condemn you, but stop sinning!”
When I see numbers and statistics on Christians who are addicted to pornography, and even the number of pastors addicted, it creates a panic in me. This is why it is important to have good patterns over potential. To give rather than spend. And to live humble rather than entitled.
Satan plays his game well. To us, it shouldn’t be a game. He creates weapons specifically with you in mind. He knows what entices you. Let’s be honest for a moment. It wouldn’t entice you if you didn’t desire it?!
Our prayer cannot be: “God, help me not sin.”
Our prayer should be: “God, change what I desire.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The trick to this verse is when you delight yourself in the Lord, your desires change. You begin to desire what He desires.
In conclusion: Please don’t ruin your life. You only have one, and it determines your eternity.