“What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.” Philippians 2:12-15 (MSG)
Is busyness stealing your energy? In a world where we forget about margin, our schedules run back to back. We associate down time with being unproductive. Yet, it is possible that the greatest thing that is stealing our joy and energy is busyness.
Paul was writing to the Philippians, encouraging them in their love for the Lord. Even though Paul’s circumstances did not lean toward him having joy, Paul wanted them to understand that joy and energy to serve God are not found in circumstances. While writing from a jail cell, Paul had every reason to not be full of life. He had no reason to be happy or content. If he had spent the whole book of Philippians complaining about his troubles, it would have all been true. But, Paul understood that it is not just about the “what” we are doing; it’s about “how” we do it. Through his passion and commitment to serve Jesus with energy, everything around him was impacted.
When was the last time you were energized by acknowledging God’s gift of salvation and outworking it in your life? We usually have good intentions. We want to be a good Mom, Dad, co-worker, boss, parent, or friend. But after a week of giving time, energy, and effort, we can feel drained and overwhelmed. Add in social events every night plus kid’s volleyball and soccer practice, while still trying to volunteer at church, work at your job, and get sleep at night. What if we have stretched beyond that which we have been given energy to accomplish by overcommitting? Maybe it’s time we simplify. Instead of spreading out our energy to love God through our life so thin that we become the grumpy Christian, let’s prioritize our energy. I believe God is able to give you the energy to accomplish His will in your life.
Energetic people are usually passionate people. But, if your life shows that it is a burden to love Jesus, why would your neighbor want to know Him? We want to show people the life changing power of Jesus, but all too often, the way in which we have designed our lives does not reflect His working in our lives. So how do we accomplish loving Jesus with our life? Romans 12: 1 (MSG) says, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” We can take the basic, simple tasks in our lives and do them with a passion and energy, understanding that our lives are living testimonies. Yet, we have to understand that it is not just in the “what;” it is in the “how.” It’s about our attitude, perspective, and joy. When we learn to invest our energy wisely, we show the world a whole new way to live. And when the world is busy, frazzled, hopeless, and confused, our passionate lives of faith become a breath of fresh air to those who need Jesus most.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.