Developing The Long-Term
The world is a crazy, chaotic, frantic, hair-on-fire kind of a place. News cycles change not from day to day but from hour to hour. Politicians make decisions which not only impact your life, but your ability to even make a living. Many theologians and pastors come out with doctrinal positions which are downright mind-boggling. In the midst of all these different areas (I feel like I just mentioned the tip of the iceberg), Christians are left wondering how shall we live?
Jeremiah 29:5-7 gives God’s commands to the Israelites under Babylonian exile. That passage states:
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
I want you to notice that everything in this list consists of long-term agendas. We as Christians, need to learn a lesson from this passage and focus on the long haul. Getting married and having kids, raising them to glorify God, these are goals which take decades. Planting a garden and eating it is not an action that happens overnight. In an age of modernity where we can cook supper in 15-seconds and have social media at our fingertips to respond to the hottest topic in milliseconds, we must resist the urge to be saturated in short-term gratification and neglect the blessings of longevity.
Applying This Concept To Our Day
The craziness that we see in our current world is not going away this year, the next five-years, nor even likely in the next decade. Always, the battle rages between the church and her enemies. Warfare will continually exist between the ideas of the world and the truth of Christ. Therefore, we must apply what we learn in Jeremiah 29 and begin to think about how to invest our lives. Some of us will live for several more decades, others only a few years, some maybe days. We cannot control how long we live, so we must focus on spending whatever days we have for the glory of Christ.
Frankly, this means that we should invest ourselves in the communities where God has placed us in life. If you noticed, Jeremiah 29:7 urged the Israelite exiles to “seek the welfare of the city.” We can certainly apply this concept as Christians by promoting that which is good wherever God has stationed us in His world. Share the Gospel with your neighbors. Buy a friend’s lunch and invest in them one-on-one. Do something kind for a family member and seek out someone to serve in your local church. Contact your state’s politicians and urge them to promote agendas and actions which promote flourishing as defined by Scripture in society. Seek the good of your city and your community by applying the Word of God through living it out in love for others to the glory of Christ.
You will also notice that this verse mentioned much about family. There are many good reasons not to be married, some are called to a life of singleness. I, myself, as of the time I am writing this post, am single though I hope to be married one day, so I am not saying there is not a time of singleness in your life. However, this text encourages the people to build up families. Consequently, my counsel to fellow singles is to be seriously considering the potential of marriage and to go about that process with maturity. Be developing yourself spiritually so that you are a mature person and are ready for a spouse. Take responsibility to know the Word and be a faithful Christian in every walk of life. If you are married, have babies and by the grace of God, raise them to walk steadfastly for the glory of Christ. Families are the backbone of society, so striving to have a strong family life is one of the greatest steps you can take for promoting that which is biblically good.
Be The Deeply Rooted Tree
When describing the righteous man, Psalm 1:3 states the following:
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The fascinating aspect about deeply rooted trees is that they are not bothered by every change of breeze which comes about. A tree with deep roots can withstand a tremendous amount of turbulence. Likewise, I would urge all of us to have deep roots in God’s Word so that when the insanity of our society comes against us, we will not budge. Instead, we shall be shelter points helping others who sit under the shade of our branches because we are solidly built upon Christ.
We should all be active in local churches. Take actions that help your communities. Promote that which is good and stand against those things that are evil. Be a good family member and invest in your loved ones. Hang out with friends and invest in their lives. Plant a garden and watch those vegetables grow up, then eat the wonderful produce taking the time to enjoy it. All of these actions, and many more, are what we should be doing in the midst of a rocky world. Let us be people who live out the small and seemingly insignificant details of life that build up to a mighty tree planted deeply, and standing strongly for the glory of God!