Today we continue our Are You Ready? series with Pastor Tommy, whose message was about changing our mindset and habits so that we will always be ready!
1. Life is good. Genesis 1:31
Then God looked over all He had made and He saw that it was very good. Genesis 1:31
When God created the universe, He proclaimed that it was good. This is a message we need to hear and remember regularly, as we may not receive the same message from anywhere else! Albert Einstein said, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” We have to decide for ourselves whether to believe all the negativity around us, or God’s Word, which tells us that life is good.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25, Do not worry about your life. This is a commandment, not a suggestion.
There is nothing better than to be happy. Ecclesiastes 3:12
As we prepare for whatever comes our way in life, we need to know that life is good!
2. Your attitude gets you ready. James 1:2
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4
When troubles come along, our natural tendency is to complain or be upset, but Scripture reminds us how important a good perspective is.
When troubles come along, our natural tendency is to complain or be upset, but Scripture reminds us how important a good perspective is. Life is good, but that doesn’t mean it should always be easy or fun.
Do everything without complaining and arguing Philippians 2:14
Pastor Tommy shared an experience he had in joining a pre-Navy-Seal training camp that was open to the general public. Because he works out regularly, he thought he would be able to handle the training, but he soon found that it was much more difficult than he had ever imagined. All he wanted to do was quit! But he learned one valuable lesson: the importance of mental toughness. When the leaders were trotting by, carrying more weight than everyone else while singing and saying how great it was (and meaning it), they were an incredible model of allowing a positive perspective to shape their experiences.
Incredibly difficult physical exercise aside, this is a great picture for life in general. If we consider our trials an opportunity for joy, we can grow, get tougher, and even enjoy the process.
If you have come through some really difficult times in your past and are now walking with God, chances are you can look back with appreciation over those times of difficulty. These are often the experiences that allow us to grow, become stronger, and be most effective and compassionate in our ministry.
3. Information gets your house ready. Matthew 7:24-27
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
The rock that Jesus speaks of is His teaching – and following that teaching! It’s so important to feed our minds the good food that God offers for our minds, hearts, and souls. If this isn’t a regular part of your life, open your Bible and start reading at least a verse a day.
Hopefully you can realize that the world does not feed us good information. The advertisements that are seared into our memories are a prime example:
"Have a Coke and a smile!" -- Is brown, sugar water full of acid really the thing that will make us happy?
"Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." -- Do cigarettes really taste good? No! Although this ad has not run for over thirty years many of us can still remember it because we have been programmed to do so.
The media also drives a lot of events and issues that are meant to be our primary focus. But who should be deciding what our focus is? The world does not love us or know what is best for us. Only God knows that and has the truth to share any time we are willing to listen.
If all these powerful messages are bombarding us on a daily basis, it is all the more important that we make sure we are feeding ourselves with real soul food – the truths of God. In Jiu Jitsu, which is a passion of Pastor Tommy’s, you have to practice many techniques over and over again over a long period of time so that when you are actually facing an opponent, you will be able to choose the right technique in that moment.
The same is true with raising children or making your own financial decisions. You need to study, think, and have a plan. If we just let things happen around us, when the rains come, we will not be prepared to deal with them.
4. Get ready to grow or die. Matthew 21:18-19
In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. Matthew 21:18-19
This is the only place in the Bible where Jesus curses something, so this is a huge lesson for us: grow or die. If you’re not bearing fruit, you are of no use to God, friends, or family.
This doesn’t mean that your life is worthless right now if you are not bearing all kinds of fruit. Rather, it means that it is really important to commit to getting better day by day. Feed your mind and soul with godly food, embrace your challenges with joy to help you be stronger, and commit to seeing life as a good gift of God.
If you make a commitment to progress, you won’t be drifting along hypnotically with popular culture. The Holy Spirit is inside us, so it is our responsibility to listen to His guidance and to grow.
Start today! Go home and make a commitment to love your family as best you can.