Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finding Joy

In the movie The Bucket List, the two main characters played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are sitting on top of a pyramid. Their discussion leads to two questions. The first is, "Have you found joy in your life?" The second is, "Have you brought joy to someone else?" The answers to these questions were believed by the ancient Egyptians to pave the way to heaven.

What brings you joy? For me, it's seeing my children find success in their pursuits. I'm so proud of all three of my children. I hope that Sarah, Jonathan and Rebekah will someday truly understand the depth of joy they have brought me. Oh, don't get me wrong - there have been more than a few challenges along the way. But none of those can even begin to diminish the joy they have brought me. And now we add our grandson Micah to the mix - even thinking about him as I write causes me to pause, reflect, and rejoice.

The second question is harder for me to answer. I don't write this expecting anyone to tell me that I have brought them joy. That's not the point. Am I the only one who looks back at his life and questions whether or not he has brought joy to others? Laughter, yes. Happiness, possibly. But joy? I think this is something I have to work at.

Have you found joy? Have you brought others joy? It's something to think about...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spiritual Drift

I am growing increasingly concerned about the spiritual drift I am seeing in men and women of faith. This drift is the subtle yet deadly slide away from what I will refer to as being spiritual dead-center. It's a cooling of our passion for Christ. It's the increasing ease with which we justify sin. It's the lack of compassion for those who do not yet know Christ.

I call it spiritual drift because it happens slowly, almost imperceptibly. I liken it to the times I've been swimming in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Coronado Island. The waves slowly pull you out to sea, especially when there is a rip tide. You don't notice it at first, but before you know it, you are farther from shore than you intended. And the danger with a rip tide is that even a strong swimmer has difficulty breaking free of its grasp.

How do we avoid spiritual drift?
1. Realize that it exists. Don't pretend you can't be drawn away from your spiritual center.
2. Reaffirm your commitment to Christ. Is He truly the Leader of your life?
3. Replenish yourself daily. Don't neglect the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, fasting, solitude, giving, meditation, etc.
4. Remain accountable. There is no substitute for accountability. Have someone who is ahead of spiritually to look up to. Have someone you are mentoring to look up to you. Stay in relationship.
5. Repent. The moment you sense you have sinned, confess it for what it is and seek forgiveness.

These are just a few ideas. What do you do to avoid spiritual drift?