Q. The many problems in our world today have made me rethink my priorities in life. I’m upset by the world situation and the materialism and lack of faith today. As a Christian I want to make some changes in my life to make a difference in our world. How can one person change the world for the better?
A. Christmas is a good time to think about how we can make “peace on earth good will to men” real in our lives. We may want to reorder our priorities and think about our purpose in life. Are we living up to the best that we know? Are we putting first things first? Scripture speaks in ways that are contrary to the voices of our culture. To reorder your priorities and know your purpose in life, consider the following:
1. Is the pursuit of material possessions a major goal in my life? We live in a culture that encourages and provides abundance. We need to feed and clothe our families but does our pursuit of money and things squeeze out time to be with our loved ones, time to help others, and willingness to contribute to charities? Scripture says “No one can serve God and money.” Matt. 6:24
2. Do I seek personal comfort and an easy life? Do I spend too much time in my recliner, too much time in front of the TV and little or no time helping others? Many organizations that serve the disadvantaged need volunteers. Children need mentors, the elderly and sick are lonely and need visitors. We can get out of our recliners and find a need and meet it. Our culture says, “Relax, enjoy life.” Scripture says “Love your neighbor.” Matt.
3. Am I living a truthful life? Our culture tells us don’t get involved, don’t rock the boat, ignore behavior that seems wrong. When we know about an abusive parent or a drug addicted employee do we take the path of least resistance and say nothing? Or do we take a risk and speak up? Do we “steal” supplies from our place of work, rationalizing it because “everyone’s doing it?” Are we willing to be truthful with ourselves and with others in a culture that tells us there is no such thing as Truth? Scripture says “The truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
4. Do I guard my mind? Our culture feeds us vulgarity, violence, permissive sexuality, and negativity. The images we watch on TV and in movies can accumulate like trash in our minds. We can be selective about what we view and read. We can learn to reject unwanted thoughts; thoughts that harm us and bring us down. Scripture says, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
5. Do we have hearts full of love? The world teaches us to pursue power and control. Power makes us feel strong. Control makes us feel secure. But these are illusions. No one but God has absolute power or absolute control. Power and control are cheap substitutes for love. Love puts others needs ahead of self. Love is patient and kind. We need to let go of anger, bitterness, grudges and resentments or we will not have love in our hearts. Our culture says seek power and control. Scripture says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians NIV
Soren Kierkegaard once said that life is like a large store window in which pranksters have switched the price tags. The things of greatest value are priced as worthless trinkets, while cheap trash is made to appear valuable. Bertrand Russell, an atheist said, “Unless you assume a God, the question of purpose is meaningless.” Seek God and you will find purpose and much more.
Examine your own priorities through prayer, meditation, Bible study, and worship during this Holy season. Peace on earth begins with change in one heart at a time.
“For everything, absolutely everything above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels - everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” Colossians The Message