By either definition it seems safe to say that life sometimes involves a shift. To say it another way, life is full of transition and change – which can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. Even though most of us want to know what’s next, we realize that life often doesn’t work that way. Sometimes we simply don’t know what’s next.
Because we don’t know what’s next, we sometimes trick ourselves in a couple of ways. We trick ourselves into thinking the problems before what’s next will go away with what’s next even though we always take us with us into what’s next (that will make a lot more sense if you listen to part 1 – What’s Next? – of CCC’s Shift series). We also fool ourselves into thinking we prepare for what’s next if we don’t know what’s next.
Fortunately, a guy by the name of James wrote a document that became the book of James in the Bible that give us some insight into preparing for what’s next even if we don’t know what’s next.
Take a few minutes to read James 1:22-25 and the next step of considering the following questions about the importance of doing and not just listening.
- How do you typically respond to change?
- What do you embrace about change? What do you resist about change?
- What do you typically mean when you say someone just doesn’t listen?
- When does doing what we hear lead to healthy changes in life? When does doing what we hear lead to unhealthy changes in life?
- How might “God’s word” serve as a filter for deciding what changes to make?
- How does looking in a mirror reveal things that might need to change?
- What do you think it means to “look intently” at something or someone?
- What might James be referring to as “the perfect law”?
- How might aligning your decisions and behaviors with the perfect law “set you free”?
- In what areas of life would you like to experience more freedom? What does God say about those areas?
- What changes might you need to make to not just listen to but do what God says?
- Are there areas of needed change in your life that you have been fooling yourself? What are they? How can you be more intentional about the needed changes?
- What next steps will you take to do what you should be doing and not do what you shouldn’t be doing?
Generally speaking, we all like to know what’s next! Fortunately it’s not necessary to know what’s next to be prepared for what’s next. There is a what’s next for all of us! There is a transition, change, or shift you are or will be facing. The question isn’t whether you will face it but if you will be prepared to face it. The best way to be prepared for what’s next is to be a doer today (make wise decisions and live with fewer regrets and align your behaviors with the way God desires life to be lived).
If we are not a doer of the right things now, we will more than likely not be a doer of the right things in whatever is next. Experiencing the freedom James talks about requires stopping whatever we are doing long enough to intently examine the “perfect law” (which is predicated on loving God and loving others as Jesus loved us) and changing what we need to change to live that way. Anything else is fooling ourselves – at least that’s what James said!
Today is Monday – make it a day where you do what you should do and stop doing what you shouldn’t be doing to prepare for what’s next!