It’s the third month of the year and already, many of us are starting to feel overwhelmed.
Some of us are incredibly busy but have no real results to show for it. Others are overwhelmed by the sameness of things: we have the same financial problems we had last year; the same career issues, and challenges within our families.
With the euphoria of a new year wearing off, we wonder whether things will ever change; and whether we can make real progress in our lives.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone!
Too many of us devote too much time to external pursuits ÔÇô the ‘rat race’ – without a moment’s thought as to how it’s affecting our lives. We engage in an endless, mindless pursuit of bigger houses, bigger cars and greater success, while conveniently ignoring the empty feeling we have just a few days after attaining our latest goal. And we don’t dare share just how hollow we feel, in case we lose some ‘friends of fortune’ along the way.
To many people reading this article, this feeling will be familiar, but we’re too afraid to do anything different to increase the amount of genuine satisfaction in our lives.
Don’t worry! I’m not about to ask you forego material success for spiritual gain. In fact, I happen to believe that you can have both; that spiritual success brings not only sustainable peace and joy, but material wealth and a life of ease.
That’s why the bible tells us, “seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” You can have it all and have it work!
The problem with most of us is our focus! We seek ‘things’ first, imagining they’ll bring us joy, when nothing could be further from the truth. Scientific research shows that, no matter how great your latest achievement, you’ll always adapt to it. It’ll never bring you the kind of lasting happiness you want, but do you know what will?
Your Creator! You’re not looking for more things; you’re looking for a more meaningful connection to God. When God created you, he did so in His image. That means you, like God, are a spirit; and only He can fill you up. Start taking care of your spirit, feeding it on God’s Word, and God will do the necessary to “add unto you.”
When God wants to communicate with you and guide you, He does so through your spirit; and only He can guide you to lasting happiness and fulfilment. You just need to Turn Down the Noise and listen!
Yet many of us neglect our spirits. We don’t feed them on the Word, or take time to listen to what God is telling us. We don’t “renew our inward man” through prayer or the Word, little realising that if our inward man flourishes, so too must our outward man.
We’re like the famed, rich king of a small African kingdom, who had four wives. The king loved his fourth wife the most; and treated her to the very best that money could buy.
He also loved his third wife a great deal ÔÇô she was gorgeous! He was always showing her off to neighbouring kingdoms, although he secretly feared that one day, she would leave him.
In addition, the king loved his second wife. She was his confidant; always compassionate and patient with him.
The king’s first wife, on the other hand, was a loyal partner. She’d made great contributions in maintaining the king’s wealth and kingdom, but the king did not love her. In fact, although she adored him, he hardly took any notice of her!
One day the King fell ill and, on his death bed, he thought of his luxurious life and wondered: “I have four wives but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”
So, he asked his fourth wife; “I’ve loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” she replied, and she walked away without another word.
The sad King then asked his third wife, “I’ve loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “Never!” she replied. “Life’s too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”
Despairing, he asked his second wife, “You’ve always been there for me when I needed help. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry,” she responded, “but the most I can do is give you a decent burial.” The King was devastated!
Then a voice called out: “I’ll follow you, no matter where you go.” The King looked up and there was his first wife. She was thin and malnourished from years of neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said, “I should’ve taken better care of you when I had the chance.”
In reality, we all have four wives! Our fourth wife is our body: no matter how much time we spend in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.
Our third wife is our possessions – when we die, they’ll go to others.
Our second wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they’ve been there for us, the furthest they can go with us is up to the grave.
And our first wife is our spirit. It makes the greatest contribution to our well-being; it’s the only thing that will follow us wherever we go, yet it’s often neglected in pursuit of lesser pleasures.
Starting this week, cultivate, cherish and strengthen your spirit by feeding it the Word of God. Turn Down the Noise ÔÇô switch off your T.V., your blackberry and Facebook; and listen to what God is telling you.
On the other side of that communication is your greatest breakthrough – the greatest satisfaction that money can’t buy!
Make it a great week!