MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG
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There are many things that Christians are being known for these days. Ironically, crucifixion is not one of them. A Christian who is not living a crucified life is not a living sacrifice, but a walking contradiction . . .
The trend today is to be fashionable, modern, relevant, cutting-edge. Attractive. But what does God find attractive? Have we recreated God in our own image? For Jesus, nothing was (and is) more cutting edge for a disciple than living a crucified life. Crucifixion was an appalling concept to the crowd in Jesus’ day – and it’s at odds with much of what is being preached, written about and replicated among many Christ-followers today. (I include myself when I talk about the struggle to embrace a crucified life). If we really want to be like Jesus, then crucifixion is the most happening, current, relevant and cutting edge pursuit possible. Sure, we can separate crucifixion from following Christ – we do it all the time, mostly without even realizing it. But that’s not Jesus’ doing. It’s ours. And, it’s tragic. Not only are we missing out, but so is God.
Rather than blog at length today, I thought I would point you to yesterday’s message delivered at www.GraceYork.com. You can find it on the Godfactor App, in the “Catapult” area of our “Flight Lounge”, in the “Current Series”. It’s message #40 in my series through the entire Gospel of Luke, entitled Dabbler or Disciple: Crucifixion and the Christ-Follower. (Also available at www.Godfactor.com and on iTunes). The message still has me thinking about my own cross, my own following after Jesus, and how very far – and deep – I have to go. Still, I must go there. If I don’t, I’m no follower of Jesus Christ.
Would love to hear your comments as you sojourn with me. And, I covet your prayers, that God would help me live a crucified life . . .
Taking yourself too seriously? It’s time to lighten up . . .
If you’re like me, you can unintentionally gravitate toward taking yourself waaaaay more seriously than you should. In fact, it’s not only a drag to take yourself too serious – it’s also not very healthy. Consider the negative consequences of taking yourself too seriously:
1. It’s a Form of Idolatry. Though unintentional, it’s idolatry nonetheless. This is biggest negative of taking yourself too seriously. Without realizing it, you can begin to arrange the rest of the world around yourself. Isn’t that the same as idolatry? Worshipping God – good. Idolatry? Bad. The only One who is supposed to be front and center, around Whom your whole life should be centered, is God. Anyone, anything else is a diversion and perversion. Stop taking yourself so seriously, and get God back to the center of your life. He should be the center of your life, not you.
2. It’s a Killjoy. People who take themselves too seriously have an imbalanced understanding of what it means to “maximize” life. It’s possible (and more enjoyable) to make the most out of all aspects of life, not just the aspects of productivity and perfection. If productivity and perfection are your aim, you will take yourself too seriously – and be a real killjoy. When you take yourself too seriously, you miss the fact that life is not only to be maximized, but also enjoyed. A large part of the enjoyment of life comes from laughter, playfulness, humor and relaxation. Don’t be a killjoy. Stop taking yourself so seriously, and lighten up a bit. In some cases, you may need to lighten up a lot.
3. It’s Unattractive. How often do you dream about, crave, and gravitate toward people who are intensely serious about themselves? That’s what I thought – never. Truth is, being overly serious about yourself is a great way to isolate yourself. One of the reasons people may not be drawn to you could be your imbalance in taking yourself too serious. If you would spend as much time trying to encourage other people as you do in being serious about yourself, you’ll become an interpersonal “magnet”. People always gravitate toward others who make them feel welcome, loved and appreciated. When you take yourself too serious, you’re wasting valuable energy on the wrong thing. Focus on yourself and you will miss the important people God has placed around you.
Want to take your life to a higher, deeper place – with God and people?Stop taking yourself so seriously, and lighten up. There’s a whole other world out there where you are not at the epicenter at all. You just need to wake up to it, so you can really start living.
“The higher your drive, the more ‘down’ time you need.”
I remember reading the statement above years ago, and I’ve found it to be true. With the passage of time, human beings have a tendency to become human doings. With a new year fresh on the horizon, I thought it would be good to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about preventing the automatic drift toward becoming a human doing (someone who has so much to do – even if for good reasons – that the happiness, fulfillment and joy of life escapes). Here are some tips you can immediately implement, to keep you from becoming a human doing:
1. Beware the Mask of Busyness. Being busy does not add up to being fulfilled, highly productive, or happy. In fact, the exact opposite can be true. Sometimes, we keep busy to keep ourselves from doing the personal reflection we really need in order to make changes in our lives. As drinking is used by an alcoholic to mask his/her real needs for love and purpose, busyness can be something we hide behind to keep us from really growing. If you are busy, make sure it’s not a means of keeping you from doing the most important work of self analysis and life-change, from the inside-out. Don’t assume that because you are busy you are productive. The exact opposite may be true.
2. Type A Should be Plan B. A “Type A” personality – the kind of person who goes, goes, goes, all day long, and never stops, is not healthy. Multiple studies have proven that highly driven individuals can miss out on much of the deeper meaning and purpose of life found in healthy relationships. If you gravitate toward being a Type A personality, or are a full-blown Type A person, your first priority should be shifting gears by scheduling down time for yourself – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. A classic weakness of a Type A personality is being driven to DO things, and in the process fail to build healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are the grease of a happy life. Plan your down time – and take it- as much as you plan and execute the other “important” things in your life. You can avoid disease by planning and taking down time. Take time to do nothing, and make that your Plan A. Make busyness your Plan B.
3. Feed Your Soul – and Journal Your Journey. While it can be good to decompress by reading a book, watching a movie, or doing a myriad of other activities, take time to read the Bible and pray – in solitude – daily. And, keep a journal to record what you are learning about yourself, God, and life. Your journal does not need to be a treatise on life. All you need to do is write a paragraph a day to record what you are reading in the Bible, and what God is teaching you. The Scripture “Be still and know that I am God” ( Psalm 46:10) was written for a purpose – with you in mind. If you neglect being still, you are not only disobeying God, but also forfeiting the benefits that always come with obedience. It may be time to discover being still before God, first-hand, in this new year.
4. Go Deeper. If you’ve enjoyed this entry, you would almost certainly enjoy listening to my “7 Keys for Depth with God”, on Godfactor.com, or with the free Godfactor App (iTunes and your Google App store). This free audio program provides short audio segments, each around 10 minutes in length, to help you improve your walk with God and quality of life. You’ll find this free program in our “Flight Lounge”, under our “Power Surge” section on our web site and on the app. 7 Keys for Depth with God is also coming out later this year, in book format, and will help you reach you fullest potential for God.
Remember, life is fast. It’s important to slow it down as much as possible. 🙂
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About the Author: Michael Anthony is the President, and Co-Founder ofGodfactor, the creator of the free Godfactor App (search for “Godfactor” in your app store), and the Lead Pastor of Grace Fellowship in York, Pa. He believes that life – all of life – is relationships.