Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 086 - Guidelines for Living
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #086 – Guidelines for Living
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss intentional changes we must seek to be well-equipped to concentrate on Jesus, and live with heart and mind focused on eternity, as we seek more ways to live with eternal perspective.
As I shared on a previous podcast, our home is now filled with the curious and innocent love of a brand new furry family member. Puppies are notorious for biting, exploring, and learning their place in the family. Ours is no exception! Since it is so much easier to watch over our new little one in a confined area, and we spend so much time in our kitchen, I like to keep our new baby fenced in the kitchen with us. Using baby gates, we have blocked the two doors in our kitchen so that we know our boy is safely enclosed on the hardwood flooring, which is so much easier to clean if accidents happen, plus it is much easier to limit his exposure to distractions or dangers.
Because we have the fences blocking Beau’s escape, he often goes to the gate and begins to whine. Plenty of toys, items to chew, and we, his family are inside the kitchen and around him, yet he longs to explore the rest of the house. Curiously, when the gates are open and he has free reign to come and go into the space as he desires, he is perfectly content to stay in the kitchen with us.
While watching our puppy’s behavior one day, I was reminded of how often our behavior is similar to Beau’s concerning our relationship with God. Our Heavenly Father gives us guidelines, which I like to call guardrails to keep us safe. God also gives us the ability to choose to live in accordance with His good and perfect desires for us. Think of how often humans try to step outside His boundaries just because we don’t want to feel fenced in. We want to be able to do what we want just because we desire it. Just like Beau.
It really doesn’t matter how many chew toys and belly rubs we give our furry boy; He still likes to run over to the gate to see if he can escape any time he has a second of time alone. It doesn’t matter how much freedom God allows us; sometimes we just want what feels good in the moment.
Just like we all have rules to follow, whether it be personal rules we have set, family rules, work rules, school rules, or rules set by society, we know what is expected and we have the ability to choose whether we will obey. Obviously, as believers, we should understand that God’s precepts are the most important, and govern above anything else set. God, in His goodness and through His sovereign and holy grace, allows us to choose whether we will obey Him or turn our back on His laws and guidelines.
Not only does He offer us the Ten Commandments, but a Bible full of promises and guidelines to hear, listen, and obey, if we choose. If we don’t, God clearly warns there will be consequences, yet He loves us enough to set a fence around us for our own protection in many ways.
Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
Because His love for us is so great, God promises His followers biblical wisdom as we seek relationship with Him, learn His word, and follow the guidelines He has set for us.
Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
When we are near to the Lord and seek His presence and protection in our life, we are sensitive to His commands and desires, and we listen for and recognize His voice.
The Lord is merciful to those who seek Him.
The Lord is delighted when our soul longs to fellowship with Him and follow His commands, not because He is a dictator who wants His way, but because He deeply loves us. God created each one of us for relationship with Him; He alone knows the desires He created us to long for and how they fit into the good and perfect plans He has lovingly set for us.
Listen to these beautiful verses.
Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Psalm 25:9 says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way."
Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; all day long I wait for You.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
As my puppy longs to escape the pen we created to keep him safe and to teach him guidelines to train him properly, he cannot realize that in time, his boundaries will increase. As he matures, he will be ready for more and our relationship will be close from the time we spent together as we pour love and attention into Him. He will learn the rules of safety and obedience to become all He can to ensure a happy and fulfilled life.
Isaiah 48:17 says, “This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
Psalm 143:8 says, “Let me hear Your loving devotion in the morning, for I have put my trust in You. Teach me the way I should walk, for to You I lift up my soul.”
Psalm 73:23-24 says, “Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and later receive me in glory.”
As we continue to pursue our relationship and walk with God, our maturity increases. We see more clearly the life He has set for us and we long to please Him in new ways. We begin to seek Him and His ways, instead of seeking to escape the fence we once felt surrounding us. We respect and long for God’s protection and guidance from the Source of all things pure, good, and worthy.
Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your word.”
Psalm 119:35 says, “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”
How can following guidelines bring us closer to God?
1. Obedience - Just as we maintain guidelines for Beau and begin our bonding and attachment process, God sets limitations or rules for us to abide by. When we chose to accept those limitations, we focus our gaze more clearly on the truths of God and His goodness and provisions. We internalize His everlasting love for us, exhibit our love for Him, and begin the transformation process needed to become a reflection of Him.
2. Intimacy – As we realize more clearly who God is, we respond to His love by seeking an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Making His word a priority in our life, and communicating with our Father through prayer (both speaking to Him and listening for Him) allow us to cultivate a connection that transforms from who we were to who He is calling us to become.
3. Wisdom – As we transform into a likeness of Christ, we obtain more of the wisdom God generously bestows to those who love and seek His counsel. We are able to hear and respond more intimately with the Holy Spirit living inside us.
4. Gratitude – When we live with thankfulness despite circumstances, such as being penned into an area of life we do not choose, or when we live with a gratefulness for who we are through Christ and the work God is crafting inside us, our attitude and responses no longer reflect a broken human in need of grace, but of a Savior who sacrificed all so that we could live full lives of love, mercy, peace, and joy.
Allowing the power of Christ control in all areas in our life, realizing that we are His and His plans are far greater than we can imagine, allows us to truly live with an eternal perspective that seeks Jesus moment by moment and transforms lives around us as we are beautifully altered.
Gracious, merciful Heavenly Father, there is none like You. You are perfect, holy, and sovereign. I marvel at how You look upon us as we seek our own way, yet still desire relationship with us, exhibiting the most beautiful and sacrificial love. Thank you for modeling the way to a healthy lifestyle, a peaceful home, a joyful attitude, and a grateful heart. You crafted us, You know us, and You can fill every empty place within us if we only seek You above all else and follow Your generous guidelines. Teach us, O Lord, the way of Your statutes so that we may keep them to the end. Give us Your understanding that we may obey Your laws, and direct us in the path of Your commandments so that we may be filled with delight. Help us to meditate on Your laws with love and appreciation for all You desire for us. Keep our mind and feet free from every evil path, help us to keep Your word. Be near to us, O Lord and allow us to be ever nearer to You moment by moment. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. Please visit terrihitt.com to access podcast episodes housed in one convenient location, read blog posts, transcripts, and access additional resources designed to mature your walk with Jesus through an eternal perspective and encourage you to raise or influence children to choose Christ over culture.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.