Ask yourself: How will people summarize your life? We get so caught up in just getting through each day that we rarely think about the kind of legacy we will leave behind.
We tend to put this off until later in life, but we are actually continually leaving behind some sort of legacy no matter how old we are. Young ladies, this includes you as much as it includes the older women.
Maybe it is the legacy you leave when you die. Or maybe it is the legacy you leave when you move jobs, or graduate from one school to another, or become an empty nester, or you retire, or you change your friend group. We are continually leaving some sort of legacy.
Good legacy building starts NOW. Not when you are older, not when you get your act together, not when you mend that broken relationship. It’s happening right now.
Here’s a hard reality: it is possible that after a couple of generations, few people will know we even existed. Much of what we do will not last; things we cherish now will ultimately perish. If our affections are on anything but Christ, our legacy is going to reflect that.
Unless we think seriously about the kind of legacy we are developing, we may leave nothing worth inheriting.
Think often about what sort of impact you want to make. If you do this, you are more likely to pass on something of worth to the next generations.
Your legacy is actually not about you. It is about glorifying Jesus Christ. It’s not about celebrating your achievements, but it is about maximizing the influence you can have in the lives of others so that your work for God is not in vain.
1 Cor. 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
This is something to do NOW, not later. Even you young girls can build a legacy by starting to consider how you spend your life NOW.
Exodus 20, Numbers 14, Deut. 5, and Jeremiah 32 all hold Truth that addresses the way that we pass things on to the future generations. Look now at just one of those verses, Exodus 20:5:
“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”, or more clearly just for the purpose of explanation here in another version, the New Living Translation says it this way: “I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.”
The way we live and the way we treat people has an impact that lasts through the generations to come.
Each individual is responsible for their own sin and relationship with God, so I am not and this scripture is not suggesting that we are going to have to personally pay for the sins our parents committed, but these verses remind us that we leave a legacy as we pass on our tendencies, habits, coping mechanisms and many other traits that can play in to our tendency towards sin.
Leaving a legacy is inevitable, and it can be negative or positive. Scripture has plenty to say about our legacy. Here are a few Biblical principles that I encourage you to dwell on as you examine your own legacy potential. They are a starting point to serve as a guide for you as you consider what you want to pour in to the next generation. I encourage you to read them in your Bible in the context of the surrounding passages. This would make a great study on what the Bible teaches about legacy:
Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
Matthew 6:20-21 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
2 Timothy 2:2 “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
2 Peter 1:12-15 “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”
Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
One way to leave a Christ-centered legacy is to mentor someone younger than you. You can read more about serving intergenerationally at www.biblicalmentor.com
Conflict: Grace Works!
Conflict. It’s one of those words that makes us cringe and shrink back in denial and fear.
Too often our gut reaction when someone confronts us with an offense is to defend ourselves. Even if we were in the wrong, we tend to want to cover it up (that is nothing new, read about Adam and Eve!) We try to justify ourselves, blame someone else, avoid the problem, and the list goes on. We stand ready with excuses in hand, armed for the battle, fully intending to win it.
God offers us a better way. He offers us the way of grace. He extends grace to us and we are to extend it to others. The Bible is very clear regarding how we are to respond to conflict. We can draw from Scripture these 7 practical steps to use when we face conflict:
1. Remove the log:
Matthew 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Before you engage in any discussion that will involve pointing out another’s sin, be sure that you have prepared your heart. In order to enter that conversation with proper motives and a forgiving attitude, you will need to admit your own failure in the relationship, acknowledge your own sin issues, and take responsibility for your part in the conflict. It takes two to have a conflict and rarely is there only one guilty party. Confess, repent, admit, and seek forgiveness. Only then are you able to have the right motives for confronting someone with the goal of reconciliation.
2. Admit weakness and failure:
Proverbs 28:13 "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy."
Again, own up to your part in the conflict. You need God’s mercy as much as the other person. Total honesty prepares your heart and presents your case in a way that is much more likely to be received. This is the way of humility. Pride in your heart will hinder reconciliation. Humility opens the doors of communication that can lead to reconciliation.
3. Don’t promise to do better next time:
James 5:12 "But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation."
The truth is, you will fail again. You are a sinner and so am I. We can seek God to help us to deal with our relationships in a godly manner but we will never achieve perfection. Sin has messed up that possibility. You can ask for help, accountability, and avail yourself to some input. But you cannot promise to “do better” because you probably won’t. God’s grace is sufficient for that. We are to have integrity (let our yes be yes) but there are consequences to making a promise that we cannot keep.
4. Grant grace no matter who is in the wrong:
Ephesians 4:31 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Approaching a guilty sinner with an attitude of grace is critical to the healing of conflict. You, too, are a guilty sinner. It is a level playing field at the foot of the cross. We tend to forget that when we are ready to win a battle in conflict. It is easy to believe we are the innocent party as we aim to accuse and admonish someone. Whether that person has truly sinned and needs to repent or not, grace in your approach is critical and healing.
5. Offer solutions, not accusations:
2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
In order to reconcile, we need to do more than simply pointing out the problem that brought conflict. Reconciliation is only possible when there is a plan put in place to work towards rebuilding relationship. That plan will be useful only if it is based on God’s Word. God’s Word has the answers to our relationship struggles. An excellent resource for how to resolve conflict Biblically is the Peacemaker ministry (Ken Sande.) There you will find Biblical solutions to conflict that are not only rooted in Biblical principles but also practical in nature and ready to be put in to practice.
7. Purpose to be reconciled. Better yet, to be restored to full relationship:
Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
This verse speaks for itself. Do whatever you possibly can to reconcile a conflict. If the other person does not reciprocate, that is not your responsibility. They are responsible for their own sin, and you are responsible only for yours. At the end of the day, have you done everything you can to resolve conflict?
God has called us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers.
Peacekeepers want to avoid conflict, and will do whatever it takes to do so.
Peacemakers want to resolve conflict, and will do whatever God’s Word teaches to do so.
Scripture teaches peacemaking, not peacekeeping!
Reconciliation between believers is a picture of The Gospel. If we keep this in mind and remember it is not about us, but it is about glorifying God, we will be more motivated to reconcile. When we reconcile with people, we are also reconciled to God Himself.
2 Corinthians 5:18 "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."
Is there a conflict in one of your relationships? If so, take Romans 12:18 to heart and become a peacemaker today.
Sometimes Biblical Counseling is amazingly simple. I am not talking about the type of counsel that offers you a “take two verses and call me in the morning” approach. I am talking about Truths that are profound, and yet simple.
God’s Word is accessible to everyone with the ability to obtain a copy or access the internet. It is illuminated for us by the Holy Spirit. That means that someone who is born again can read their Bible and come to an understanding of the Scriptures. Some people tend to complicate matters by intellectualizing too much, analyzing too much, and scrutinizing too much. Of course an in-depth study of God’s Word is very important, but many times when we are helping someone to apply Biblical Truth to their struggle we might see more fruit if we don’t complicate our counsel.
Sometimes we’d do better just to keep it simple. One simple yet profound concept I love to teach those I am helping is this:
Take a look at your struggle (sin or suffering) and note how are you responding to it. How do you view it. Is your perspective Biblical? The world might call this “is your glass half empty, or is it half full”. Biblically let’s call it “do you view your problem as a struggle, or as an opportunity.” I like to simplify that even further by saying a short phrase to remind myself:
“struggle? OR opportunity?"
Struggles are a given in this life. There is no escape from them. Jesus does not call us to comfort, He calls us to pick up our cross and follow Him. Part of the Christian life is that we will have problems and struggles. When we go through life focused on our circumstantial hardships, we become discouraged, depressed, anxious, and exhausted. We are tempted to take matters in to our own hands and work and perform to earn God’s favor so that He will change our circumstances. How defeating! And how unbiblical!
1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
When we take our eyes off of our circumstances and instead look at Christ, our perspective changes to something much more Biblical. We are reminded, as the above Scriptures express, that our suffering is temporary. Not only that, He will take care of us in the struggle. We are reminded, too, that God always provides the means for endurance. And our attitudes can be changed as we pass the tests of faith. God is so good to us.
Our greatest example of viewing a struggle as an opportunity is our Savior. As He approached his death on the cross, He knew exactly what was coming. But for a brief moment, He did ask The Father to “remove this cup” from Him. No one has ever “struggled" like Jesus did on our behalf - and yet He knew this was an “opportunity” for salvation - our salvation. There never was and never will be a more difficult struggle nor a more amazing opportunity. It only took one time, and then it was finished.
Jesus’ way was the way of “opportunity.” Yes, it was hard (to say the least), but His eyes were not on His circumstances. His eyes were on His Father.
In my life, and I assume in yours if we are fellow strugglers in Christ, I have often been most helped by the simple Truths from God's Word. Here are a few of the struggles with sin and suffering that I and others have, with Jesus’ help, learned to view as opportunities:
*My anxiety is an opportunity to Trust God as He shows me His sovereignty over my circumstances.
*My depression is an opportunity to let God’s Word work actively in my heart to change my perspective and learn more about Him along the way.
*My insecurity is an opportunity to remember that without Christ I am nothing. In Him, I have everything I need. I have a new identity.
*My fears are opportunities for God to prove Himself completely safe and trustworthy.
*My illness is an opportunity to seek God more in His Word because I have more time while I rest.
*My financial setback is an opportunity to let God use others to provide for our needs as they offer help.
*My sin struggles are an opportunity to know God’s grace is real, and to see Him work in my heart as I am reminded of my need for a Savior.
*My stress is an opportunity to come to the end of myself so that I can rest in Jesus alone, rather than my own efforts.
What would you add to this list?
A good Biblical Counselor will walk you through much more teaching on the issues of the heart related to your struggle. But before you make that counseling appointment, stop and consider what you are going through and ask yourself this simple counseling question:
“Do I see this problem only as a struggle, or can I instead see it as an opportunity.” Be honest, God already knows your heart. If you can’t get past the view of the problem as only a struggle, call on a wise counselor or mentor to walk you through some heart change. If you view it as an opportunity, you may decide that you still need someone’s help to sort out exactly what kind of opportunity it is, or your “opportunity perspective” may be enough to help you to move forward as you approach your sin or suffering Biblically.
Simple counsel can often be enough to get your thinking back on the Biblical track. It’s a very good start in any case!
What problems of sin and suffering are you viewing only as struggles today? What opportunities might they hold?
If you are in need of help, we would be glad to connect you with an experienced Biblical Counselor at www.wordofhopeministries.com
Redeeming Social Media
Do you use Facebook? Twitter? Other social media sites? Here are two common responses to this question:
1. “No, I think it is a total waste of time and a playing field for the enemy.”
2. “Yes, I connect with people there and I enjoy it."
On the surface, both of those responses seem right for that person and there is not much to debate. But let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at our own motives for using (or not using) social media.
Nobody will deny that bad things happen on social media. Like anything else in this fallen world, it can be used for evil. But does that really make it evil in and of itself? Of course not. Nobody will deny that good things happen on social media. But does that make it good in and of itself? Of course not.
1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
There are all kinds of reasons that people use social media. Connection. Friendship. Curiosity. Knowledge. Idea sharing. And more.
There are also all kinds of reasons that people choose not to use social media. Time. Temptation. Preference. Idolatry. And more.
Sometimes the person who uses social media proudly proclaims that this is where they find connection with friends and family, they find it fun, and they do not see it as a time-waster. Sometimes the person who does not use social media proudly proclaims that it is an ungodly place that the devil controls, and they choose to not let something use up their time or become an idol in their life.
All of the reasons both people gave are valid, and true for them. But there is one word that I hope you notice in the descriptions above… PROUDLY. Even the best sounding motives are not truly godly if pride is their driving force. We all have freedom in Christ to use and enjoy social media (as long as we are not using it for evil of course.) Those who use it do not need to defend themselves or prove the value in it to others - it falls under the area of one’s free will. For those who choose not to use it, they also do not need to defend themselves to prove their stand. They, too, are exercising free will.
Taking this in a different direction, I would offer this question to those who will not consider using social media: Have you considered the redemptive uses for technology?
If you are counseling or mentoring the younger generation, I personally believe that you should consider being present on social media. Before you get upset with me, hear me out. I am NOT saying that it is a requirement of some sort - I realize there are circumstances in life that prevent you from using a computer or being online. You can absolutely still counsel and mentor a young person without these tools. And that is exactly what social media is - a TOOL. Assuming you have access to this tool because you are reading this online, I am addressing you and encouraging you to be where the people are.
Jesus Himself is our example. Someone asked me recently if I thought that Jesus would be on Facebook if it had been an option. That’s a silly question, but tongue-in-cheek I answered “yes, I think He would have been on Facebook.” I can’t back that up in Scripture, but I CAN back up the concept that Jesus went where the people were and met them there. It is all over the New Testament!
In my ministry, as I mentor teens and young adults, I find that if I use social media as one avenue of connection with them, they respond with appreciation and gratitude. I have been thanked several times for my willingness to use Facebook to message with someone rather than call (rarely do they talk on the phone these days! Nor do they email much!) I do meet face to face with my mentees, but between our times together we stay in touch primarily on Facebook. That is not my choice, it’s their choice, so that’s where I go to find them. That is my way of redeeming Facebook! I use it for ministry, and I have grown to appreciate and yes, even enjoy it.
A teen once said “you are cool for your age because you use and iPhone to text and you use Facebook.” I got a kick out of that, but my goal is not to be cool. My goal is to reach the next generation with the hope of the Gospel and to disciple them in God’s Word. I only have to look as far as my Facebook friends list to find opportunity.
Mark 16:15 "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
Perhaps “all the world” could include social media in our current culture! I think it does. If that is where the people are that you hope to reach for Christ’s sake, then go there. You might even have fun and make some good connections!
The younger generation is on social media. It is not going away, and we are not going to be able to change that fact. So rather than spend energy proving the downfall of the internet and all the dangers and snares available there, let’s REDEEM SOCIAL MEDIA. Let’s take it and use it to spread Good News. It’s a wide open mission-field!
Yes, let’s do be careful on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. Our flesh can be weak. Let’s keep our armor on, and be wise and prudent. But because we are free in Christ to use these tools, we need not fear them. Instead, let’s redeem them!
Galatians 5:13 "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."
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