The late Stephen Covey wrote a New York Times best seller, which made the term “personal mission statement” famous. This classic book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, challenged many of us to stop and think deeply about why God placed us on this planet, particularly at this time in history. One day I decided to write my purpose for living in a simple sentence, and I thought I’d share it with you. My mission is “to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ through being a cheerleader, servant leader and a faithful leader to those whom God has given me to steward, shepherd and serve.” At the end of the day and the end of my days on this planet, I want it to be said by those who knew me best that I was an encourager, led with a servant’s heart, and was a faithful husband, father, friend, and boss to the very end.
I’ve also chosen a verse from the Bible, Romans 14:17, as a means by which to evaluate and measure the quality of my life. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Without giving a long commentary of what this passage means in its original context, I will share with you what this powerful verse says to me personally. This verse challenges me to answer three questions that I use to evaluate the quality of my life.
Question 1- At the end of the day, did my choices lead me down righteous paths or to unholy places?
Question 2- At the end of the day, did my attitude reflect Jesus’ Joy or Mark’s Moodiness?
Question 3- At the end of the day, was my heart filled with peace or was it polluted with anxious, worrisome thoughts?
Another way I have been challenged to look at my life is by using the time just as I’m falling asleep to reflect on my day and to ask God to reveal ways I have missed the mark, and then when those things are revealed, take a moment to repent. But also, I recall the positive ways I lived up to my personal constitution and theme verse and rejoice in God’s grace for the day. The mission of this personal, and to some degree private, peek into my inner life is not to attempt to impress you or to suggest you should follow my example. My goal is to simply challenge you to seek out practical ways to look at your life in order to evaluate whether you are headed in the right direction and to be more intentional about holding yourself accountable.
One final word. The wildfires in California are graphic examples of how a fire out of control can destroy lives and property. Look within yourself and see if the fire of the Holy Spirit is burning within your heart with passion for Christ’s mission and compassion for the broken. Or is there instead unholy fire that is burning and yearning for something or someone, which has you heading towards heartache and destruction?
Father, you created us for a divine purpose. Give us your heart and empower us with your Holy Spirit so that we may indeed be good ambassadors for you and draw others to you. Give us the courage to examine ourselves and see where we need to grow and change in order to be more like you. Thank you that you are patience with us. Thank you that you are the God of all peace and strength and hope and comfort. We are grateful. AMEN!