Monday, June 1, 2009

Lists to Live by

When we make a list, we're making note of things that matter to us -- we're listing things we'd rather not forget. And with about three-quarters of a million words in the Bible, wouldn't it be handy if God just cut to the quick sometimes and used some clear concise lists to tell us precisely what matters to Him? Well, if you haven't noticed, God does do that. From the ten commandments in Exodus 20 to the eight fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, He uses many lists throughout the Bible to highlight what He truly values!

God uses lists to tell us what we should pursue and what we should avoid. He uses lists to tell us what He requires of us as well as what we need in order to be fruitful. If God offered you a list of character traits and told you, "If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they'll keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful", would you pay attention? And what if He told you of that list that, "If you practice these qualities, you'll never fall"? That'd be an important list to have! Well, there is such a list, and others like it. And personally, I think we ought to remember what God puts on such lists, because they provide an easy way to recall what matters to Him. Let's look at a few, beginning with the shortest list, but also the most important!

Jesus lists in Matthew 22:35-40 what the two greatest commands are in all the Bible... a) Love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and b) Love your neighbour as yourself.

In 1 Timothy 6:11, we find a helpful list of what every man or woman of God should pursue...
  • righteousness
  • godliness
  • faith
  • love
  • perseverance
  • gentleness
Micah 6:8 provides a brief but invaluable list of what God calls "good" and what "the Lord requires of us"...
  • doing justice
  • loving kindness
  • walking humbly with God
And Peter is the one who gives us the list of qualities that will keep us from falling! (2 Peter 1:5-9)...
  • faith
  • virtue
  • knowledge
  • self-control
  • perseverance
  • godliness
  • kindness
  • love
Those are things God values. And those are things He lists for us so that we'll be sure to notice them. Perhaps they should be on our fridge by our grocery list or in the workshop by our to-do list. And if you want to look up some other valuable lists, see Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Ephesians 6:13-18; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:12-14; 1 Timothy 4:12 and 2 Timothy 2:22.

God makes it very easy for us to see what matters to Him. Just check the lists. And be encouraged that the rich wealth of words before and after each list tell us how God provides us with all we need to live these lists every day!

© 2009 by Ken Peters

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