I am a serious list maker.
I come from a long line of practical Midwesterners who firmly believe much of the world’s chaos can be conquered when armed with a trusty list of one kind or another to refer to.
I get a lot of satisfaction checking things off my list as each task is completed because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I also like skimming my list to see what’s ahead so I know what needs to be done in order to prepare and plan. No surprises. I’m workin’ my plan – doing the things I want to do and in complete control of building my life.
Good for me! Or is it?
While I can make plans all day long, in my heart of hearts I know that as a Christian I need to ask: “Is all of this really what you want from me, Lord?” More often than not, He probably looks at me and thinks, ‘Bless her heart, she just made another list…’ So all of my grand schemes aside, exactly what does God want from my life and what does He ask of me?
Turns out, God’s ‘to do’ list is a bit shorter than my worldly master list. In His Word he clearly tells us that He wants:
- Repentance – “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.” –Acts 3:19
- An Obedient Heart – “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him” – Deuteronomy 10:12a
- Loving Service – “…. Love him, serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul”- Deuteronomy 10:12b
Wow, I’m not sure I can confidently tick any of those items off that list! Am I always truly sorry for my sins? Do I obey my Heavenly Father- especially when I don’t really want to? Do I love Him with all my heart and soul? Yikes.
But hey, it’s not all bad, right? Let me refer to my “Church List”:
- Attend church regularly – check.
- Sing Praise songs (sometimes in tune) – check.
- Pray – check.
- Serve on a couple of church committees – check.
Aren’t these God-pleasing activities? Aren’t these all things God wants me to do?
Well yes, but…
My best friend gave me a great analogy the other day that I think puts this into perfect perspective. She said, “It’s like if your mom tells you her favorite flower is a pink carnation, but you continue to send red roses for every special occasion. You may be doing what you think is nice for her and giving her something she’d like, but are you really loving and honoring her when you are blatantly not giving her the gift she would most appreciate – the pink carnations?”
Quite simply, God wants our repentant and obedient hearts and asks us to love Him completely. Because he is willing to forgive me for what I end up doing instead, I’m compelled to reprioritize my Life List and strive to give Him the “pink carnations” He really wants.