What interests do you have? How do you figure out what your interests are? As a unique individual, your interests matter. Every day there are many things that capture your attention. How do those interests fit into God’s interests?
To begin exploring your interests, it helps to be engaged and aware. Look for the ways life is filled with note-worthy, interesting details:
- The beauty of nature and it’s intricate systems.
- Satisfying relationships with family or friends.
- The simple pleasures and blessings of each day (a cup of tea, a special treat, a sunset).
- The satisfaction of applying one’s skills/imagination/training to solve problems or to create something.
- Even finding ways to survive difficulties and not lose hope counts as being noteworthy.
Each day is filled with details like this. “Rich living” is something that happens deep inside you. It can be enjoyed by everyone – even in difficulties. It’s an invisible richness promised to any person willing to engage it. Only some have eyes to see and ears to hear. Those who “see” and “hear” begin to understand how their interests and God’s can become one.
There are many things on your radar every day. Some are very important, like salary, health insurance, supply of food and other critical resources, good health, safety. In this very demanding year, you are likely concerned about the coronavirus and how it has pillaged many people on the globe. In some countries, you could be very concerned about the political landscape, elections, racial injustices, fair wages, and the economy. You could be highly interested in the future of your employment.
Other things on your radar might not be as critical, like a vacation trip, recent movies, new recipes, specific power tools, seasonal style, professional education, your image, a book you’ve wanted to read, etc. All these “lesser” interests are still important. They just might not have priority in some seasons, and they might be better pursued in a more thoughtful timeline.
The human heart is flooded with daily interests. Some are easy to identify and develop an action plan for. Others are not so clear. They are a bit muddled. So you need to identify, sort, and prioritize. Add to this – remembering to value others’ interests – and the course of a day can become challenging.
How To Engage Your Interests In A Practical Way
I suggest your first and best action step is to ask God for wisdom. He is great at sorting through life’s realities. Since He has a vested interest in your life and truly wants you to succeed, He will show you how to order your priorities and interests. The goal? To be “like-minded” with God. That means lining your interests up with God’s interests. This is where you find yourself!
Why are we talking about your interests in this manner, anyway? Why spend time here? How will this help you grow as a person, in your relationship with Jesus – and with others?
Living without interests is empty and shallow. Living with interests that lack meaning and purpose is discouraging. Part of what makes you who you are and brings color to your life – is your interests. God gave them to you. He wants to help you develop them. God wants you to have a rich, full, healthy heart, and not be an empty shell.
Since God also has His own interests that include you, it helps to see how His and your interests integrate. In fact, not integrating them is living only half your life – or less.
Helpful Action Steps
First, you have daily decisions that affect your time, energy, and inner heart. Making decisions requires being rested, alert, aware, and committed to a big picture. When you start to live bigger than just your interests, you can start to engage God’s interests.
Next, you will have to make a serious decision. Scripture calls this “living sacrifice.” It means being willing to replace your interests with God’s. As you do this, you will be fascinated to discover Jesus values your individual interests. He created you with them. He helps you flesh out your interests, but that only happens as you put His interests first. Surrender is the “connect point.”
Then, you will need to apply additional, practical action steps. Put time and energy into:
- Sincere prayer.
- Patiently waiting.
- Adopting God’s perspective as you pray and wait.
These steps help you see things you didn’t before. You gain inner power and satisfying peace from this deeper discipleship. It can feel vulnerable – like you are losing yourself. Jesus promises you will find the real you – and your interests.
How do you get from where you are to this place of intentional living? How can you add purpose to your daily life?
First, start caring about what Jesus does. Then you prepare yourself to gain spiritual insight, receive encouragement, comfort, and fellowship with God. (That’s a lot!) You soak up Christ’s tender compassion as you yield to Him in life details. (That’s a lot, too.)
Next, you have to be open to receive these things from Jesus. Take them in by faith. Open your heart to them.
Finally, you decide to care about needs of people in the “i-generation” of highly advanced technology, internet, computers, and resources that span what you never thought possible.
The beauty of this exchange is that as you follow those steps, God’s involvement in your interests helps to sculpt and cultivate them. But it means being like-minded with God. You may need to change your mind about a great many things.
What makes Jesus’ interests different from yours? It starts here. Jesus knows who He is: Fully God – fully man. He does not let “being God” get in the way of being human. Rather, He engages God’s original design – uniting God’s interests and man’s – brilliantly reconnecting humanity to God. The accolades of His “godness” set aside, Jesus models harmony with God’s intended plan. He shows how to accomplish both sets of interests without conflict.
How can you begin to unite your interests with God’s? I think it starts by remembering some ideas long forgotten.
- Without God, man is nothing. God made man from the dust of the earth. God makes man special. (long forgotten)
- The privilege of being formed by God’s own hands, receiving His likeness and breath is stunning. Man is made in God’s image. (long forgotten)
- A person who stays inside God’s principles has freedom and can solve human problems. Many think by doing things God’s ways locks them into a prison. But the opposite is true. Staying inside God’s principles sets you free to solve problems like never before. (long forgotten)
- The person that looks more at God’s interests than their own, is fulfilled. Their life has purpose and meaning. God invites their partnership to accomplish His purposes. So many believers in Jesus have long forgotten the incredible idea – – “I am fulfilled by choosing God’s interests over my own.”
Jesus’ Example Helps
Jesus is still this kind of human. As the God-man, humility and obedience frame everything He does. Setting aside His glory, He shows how to serve God. His entire life is a kind of virtual story people can “read” as they watch His life.
The miracle in living like this is finding out who you really are and effectively being you. Getting your eyes off yourself and onto God helps you start caring about others! You can replace emptiness with purpose. Your dignity is restored as you show deep reverence for God.
Jesus’ sacrificial death exalts Him to the highest position with a name above all names. This is the man – the God all people will one day bow to and confess as LORD. Jesus ordained God’s love through a cross: humility, love, goodness, and power.
Application Thoughts and Questions
How does all this filter down into action steps so your life looks more like Jesus? Here are some good questions to start you thinking. Then you can develop action items. There are several helpful sets of actions steps in the above article.
- Do you know who you really are? What are your interests?
- As you compare your interests to God’s, do you see similarities? Differences?
- How can you connect to God’s values a bit more each day? Write these things down and hold yourself accountable to them.
- Will you adopt Jesus’ humble approach to serve God’s interests over your own? These will help you align your life with Jesus.
Let’s join together to be more like Jesus – a virtual life e-pistle like Jesus has so people can watch as we live each day.
(Article developed from Phil. 2:1-11.)