30 Secrets for Discovering God’s Peace and Purpose in Life
A pastor friend of mine, Dr. Mark Platt, recently sent out this e-newsletter to the congregation he is currently serving. I asked him for permission to pass this on. I found it very inspirational and filled with God’s wisdom.
As we head into 2010, I pray that you will benefit from this list as well.
Thanks for reading.
Ten years ago I was going through a very hard time in my life. I needed practical, spiritual help. That New Year’s Day I decided I would have lunch with the godliest, wisest people I knew in the coming months. I wanted to know their secrets to finding God’s peace and becoming more like the person God wanted them to be. Most of these people were pastors, one was a high achiever in business, and all of them were people who were devoted to the Lordship of Christ in their lives.
What I found was that most of their secrets were similar. Each of them knew exactly what their formula was for peace and meaning. They could talk at length about it. Every one of them had gone through life changes, heartaches and pain. All of them who had applied their principles to their lives have experienced the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. From their collective wisdom, I began to develop a list of principles and kernels of wisdom.
About the same time, I heard that Billy Graham reads five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs every day. I thought if it worked for this godly man who has been so used by God, perhaps God would help me grow in my walk. Day after day and month after month, I began to see how the wise counsel of these godly men was changing me.
Now I had a list of principles I wanted to live by. Of course, I want to live entirely by the sixty-six books of God’s Word, the Bible. But I wanted to summarize God’s principles for my life succinctly into a practical plan. I tried to abridge it on one typed sheet of paper that a simple person like me could read several times a day and follow.
In the last few years, I have honed them and sharpened them as God has illumined me about them. They are not God-breathed or inspired in any way. I call them “30 Commitments to a Better Life.” It is my life plan that I try to live by.
All I can tell you is that these thirty items have given me greater joy and meaning. The more I lived them the closer God has become. This life plan has helped me live the Bible and become a better Christ-follower. I know I am taking a risk. My life plan is very intimate and personal. I imagine some people might ridicule it or criticize it. But I guarantee you that it is hard to live this way. Yet, I know this plan works! I have not lived it all nor will I ever. But I know that God has blessed my life with it and I will never be the same.
So as your “traveling companion” and as your spiritual “tour guide” here at Southern Gables Church for these months, I share with you how I strive to live my life in hopes that my life plan will help you in your spiritual pilgrimage with Christ in 2010. Here are my 30 Commitments to a Better Life:
1. Put God at the center of my time, habits, money and every area of my life (Matthew 6:33).
2. Get up early and front-load my day with God just as Jesus did (Mark 1:35).
3. Have a daily quiet time with God. Read and meditate on the Bible (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 19:7-10). Ask God how to apply the passage I read to my life. Pray for my needs and the needs of others (James 5:16). Keep a packet of Scriptures on cards to memorize and meditate upon (Psalm 119:11, 15, 48, 97) during the day.
4. Pray throughout the day (Colossians 4:2). Talk to God the moment a problem comes.
5. Read devotional books by Tozer, Nouwen, Foster, Murray and others to help me live for God.
6. Journal my thoughts and inspirations almost every day. Go back and re-read them often.
7. Live with joy and optimism. Nehemiah (8:10) says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I will strive to keep a hopeful outlook and positive attitude in all things.
8. Develop authentic humility. Lose the need to self-aggrandize (Psalm 25:9; 36:11; 149:4; 1 Peter 5:5, 6). Don’t take myself, my successes, or losses so seriously. Be less threatened by others.
9. Work hard at my God-given mission and calling in life. Strive to do my best (Colossians 3:23).
10. Play inspirational music to edify my mind and heart during the day and night (Psalm 57:7; 98:4, 5; Ephesians 5:19).
11. Own my own faults and confess my sins (1 John 1:9; Psalm 32, 51). But I won’t let others put their sins and problems on me. No guilt trips for me. Live in the grace of God (Psalm 103:12).
12. Rest in the sovereignty of God (Romans 8:28; Psalm 42:5; 46:10; 62:1,2; 68:19). If I can’t do anything about a difficult situation, I will let it go and let God have it (Psalm 27:1,2; 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). I will remind myself that I am not the general manager of the universe and that He is (Isaiah 41:10: Psalm 95:1-6; 139:1-18). Trust God regardless of what my emotions may tell me.
13. Slow down. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places. Take one day at a time. Live with serenity (Psalm 46:10; Isaiah 32:17) and the peace of God (John 14:27; Colossians 3:15).
14. Live on less, within my means and debt-free. Be free from the love of money (Hebrews 13:5).
15. Talk less and listen more. (Psalms 141:3; Ecclesiastes 5:2.) Listen to others with empathy.
16. Develop and nurture several close friendships with godly and wise people for accountability, encouragement, counsel and fellowship (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 4:10; Galatians 6:2).
17. Get exercise with aerobics and strength-training almost every day (1 Corinthians 6:19).
18. Live healthy. Eat less, less often, less fat, less sugar, and low carbohydrates. Get eight hours of sleep every night; eat breakfast; drink water; take vitamins. Have a yearly physical exam with my doctor. Take my doctor’s health advice. My body is God’s temple so I will take care of it. (1 Corinthians 6:19).
19. Give generously to my church, the needy, missions and to worthy causes. (2 Corinthians 9:6,7).
20. Simplify and un-clutter my life so it has order and efficiency. Junk the unnecessary and chaotic.
21. Pace myself for the long-run. Spread out changes and difficult projects over time.
22. Enjoy life and bask in God’s goodness every day (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).
23. Laugh! Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until I pant for breath. (Proverbs 15:13, 15).
24. Keep friends who are godly and cheerful (Proverbs 17:17; 27:9; Ecclesiastes 4:10). Avoid foolish and angry people (Psalm 1:1-3; Proverbs 14:7; 16:29; 29:22).
25. Develop a forgiving attitude (Ephesians 4:32) toward family, co-workers, neighbors and anyone who has hurt me (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Colossians 3:13). Let go of wrongs done and forgive.
26. Be kind to difficult people (1 Thessalonians 5:15); they are probably carrying a heartache.
27. Accept life’s disappointments (2 Timothy 2:3). Pain happens (Matthew 5:45). Grieve, learn, endure and move on. (Psalm 119:72: Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; James 1:2-4).
28. Cultivate patience, discipline, and perseverance to achieve God’s goals for my life.
29. Tell the people I love that I love them at every opportunity (Proverbs 3:3; 1 Peter 4:8).
30. Every morning as I get up and each night before I go to sleep, I will take a few moments to thank God for His blessings and benefits in my life (Psalms 69:30; 98:1; 100:4; 103:1-5; 145:2).