By: Steven Nelms
Don’t EVER think that there are enumerated, defined, nice and neat steps that you can take to ensure a better life for yourself. That’s right. Step #1 is self-defeating and pretty much negates this whole blog post. But, whatever. Stop listening to steps, processes, formulas, and algorithms that promise that in 7 days you can have a better relationship, or in 31 days you can be a better you, or in 12 steps you can be cured. There are no steps. There are no guaranteed results. There are no quick fixes. So the first step to a better life is to resist the mentality of instant gratification. Your 10 day reading plan on the promises of God is not going to remedy your fears and doubts about God’s faithfulness. When you stop expecting fixed results from a presupposed step list, you’ll be freer from stress, anxiety, and false hopes in temporal satisfaction.
Start the pursuit now, right now, this very second. Why are you still reading? Start pursuing! Oh, sorry. You might be wondering what you’re supposed to be pursuing. Step #2 is to start pursuing holiness. But specifically to start pursuing it by abiding in Christ. So it’s kind of a twofold pursuit. Your pursuing holiness in your daily life by holding fast to Christ. In your pursuit of Him, you are actively pursuing a lifestyle pleasing to Him. This isn't a bulleted step by step process. It’s a gray area filled with fog. There’s very little that is black and white. Relativity is the name of the game. What brings you closer to Christ is not necessarily what brings someone else closer. What causes an obstacle in your pursuit of Christ may not be an obstacle at all for someone else. The only boundary is not articulated by what you can’t do. It’s communicated by what you are doing; and that’s pursuing holiness.
Don't look back. Ever. Nope. Not ever. Stop looking. Don’t look! Okay. Now that you’re looking forward, don’t ever look back. When we look to the cross, we are not looking back at the historical event. We're not even looking back to our moment of personal salvation. When we look to the cross, we're looking at the saving work of God’s grace in our lives in this very moment. When we stumble and fall and get disillusioned or disappointed, we are not supposed to harken back to the “glory days” of when we were getting along with God just perfectly. We are not supposed to look back at the cross. We are to look at the cross today. Look at the intercession of Christ’s sacrifice in this very moment. Because it is sufficient. So stop looking back. Stop thinking about past seasons of righteousness or past experiences of God’s activity. Look to this moment in which Christ is continually working in you.
So those are my 3 simple steps to a better life. #1, don’t ever fall for the trick of following simple steps to a better life. #2, be pursuing Christ always in each and every moment of your day, narrowing your activity not by the boundaries of what you can’t do, but by the inertia of what you are doing. #3, don’t ever wallow over the past, long for the past, or glorify experiences from the past, because it takes you away from the present which is where Christ is continually interceding for you and inviting you to encounter Him.
And it is my guarantee that if you follow these 3 simple steps then you'll be well on your way to a better life (see Step 1).