Have you heard, or ever used the expression, “If I only knew then what I know now…?” These words are often used to articulate the regret we feel when we reflect upon the opportunities and gifts we’ve wasted out of ignorance, or even neglect. Thankfully, through Christ, He can restore and redeem the direction and impact of our life, and help us abandon our wasteful ways:
Boasting: Have you ever “put your foot in your mouth”? Typically, when we boast, or brag, it’s due to our insecurities and pride. We want to hide our flaws, but by boasting we often reveal them. Contrarily, when we are humble, we focus less on our abilities and more on allowing Christ to work through us. We are available, knowing we have weaknesses, but that through Him all things are possible and can be worked together for good. Therefore, we’re more inclined to seize opportunities and further their impact rather than squander them out of boastful pride (Colossians 4:5).
Bedlam: Disorder and chaos typically result when we allow ourselves to be distracted by envy and selfish ambition. These destructive behaviors are rooted in tendencies that cause us to seek self over God, and if they can be a primary cause to the fall of Satan, it’s not difficult to imagine the potent influence they can have in causing us to stumble and squander our gifts for God. Yet, if envy and covetousness creates chaos, then contentment helps create calm (Proverbs 14:30). For when our satisfaction is in Christ, all else loses its luster and fades in comparison to the life only He can offer.
Bitterness: A bitter attitude spreads like a disease throughout the person harboring it and eventually causes infractions upon those in close proximity. Sadly, even some Christians can allow the burdens of anger and bitterness to dilute their impact. For bitterness serves only to repel rather than reflect the hope and joy found in Christ. Therefore, there is no room for such negativity in the life of a believer. Otherwise, how can we fulfill our call to shine as stars and lead others to righteousness of God (Daniel 12:3)?
Application: “Abiding Over Striving” – Zechariah 4:6
Striving is much easier for most of us to do than abiding. For when we strive, we get to control how much effort is exerted in order to achieve our desired goals. However, when we abide, we must willingly abandon our objectives for God’s, which may often directly conflict with our own wants. Therefore, may we always seek opportunities to help others rather than hinder them, and pursue expressions of gratitude over grandstands. For in doing so, our wasted ways must be put aside, along with our reliance on self.