Tuesday, 1 July 2014

To-do list {the spiritual kind}

Ok, hands up.

How many of your are list makers?

Who has little pads of paper lying around the house, with things scribbled down, or perhaps neatly penned, in order to focus your mind on what needs to be done that day, week or month?

You'd think I knew what I was talking about.

I am AWFUL at making, and following, lists.  I feel my life may be improved if I actually stuck at making it a habit, but my tendency towards procrastinating over beginning new habits will have to wait for another day...

However, I was listening to a sermon yesterday, which brought my mind to the topic of "lists" in the Bible. There are both "to-do" ones and "to-not-do" ones.

Colossians 3 has a classic list of what NOT to do - what to "put off".

"anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another"

Proverbs 6 has lists of things that God hates.

"A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

 There are things that are never satisfied

"the grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough."

and four things little, but wise

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces."

(If I but had the time, that one would make a fab children's study/notebooking activity/lapbook!)

The list my mind was drawn to was one in the New Testament.

This list is slightly different. It's like the kind you make when you need to do the first thing before the next is possible, and so forth, down a list.

It's found in II Peter, chapter 1.

"And beside this, giving all diligence, 
add to your faith virtue; 
and to virtue knowledge; 
 And to knowledge temperance; 
and to temperance patience; 
and to patience godliness; 
And to godliness brotherly kindness; 
and to brotherly kindness charity. "

Now, if there's ever a list that you should have pinned up as a "to-do", it's THIS one.

When you read this list, suddenly cleaning your bathroom, wiping down the skirting boards and cleaning the drawer in your washing machine all pale into insignificance!

As women, we can be sucked into the "must-keep-the-house-spotless-all-the-time-because-someone-might-think-badly-of-me-if-I-don't" mentality.  So, endless lists of jobs to do around the house keep us incessantly occupied.

Maybe we are in the "If-I-don't-keep-up-with-what-everyone-else-does-I-will-be-depriving-my-children" camp.  Off we toddle, every possible waking hour, to take our children to X, Y and Z.

There are many areas where we have lists as long as our arm, that we try and follow and keep up with.

Nothing compares to the one in II Peter, in the arena of what SHOULD be accomplished in our life.

I need to stop, take a long, hard look at my life, and think if I am following THIS "To-do list".

It's a fairly convicting, and challenging, list.

Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity

Starting off with making sure that our profession of faith is true, we need to add virtue (excellence and praise), knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience (looooong-suffering), godliness, brotherly kindness (affection for those who are near and dear) and charity (love - literally translated "love feast"!)

Not only that, but the verse tells us HOW to carry out the duties on the list - with all diligence. Oh, wow. How far do *I* fall below that standard on a regular basis? ALL diligence. It's convicting just thinking about the list, never mind how far off "all diligence" I am.

Now, if my day was filled trying to put that list into action, how much more would I be helping myself, and those around me? I can see a few there, that need some SERIOUS work in my life. That whole "Oh, you homeschool, you must be SO patient"?? Hmmmmm

This week has been challenging, so far, with so many children down with chickenpox.  Several of those attributes on the list are being tested and tried - but, I need to keeping "adding", by God's grace.

So, I think I will get a spiritual "to-do" list up on my fridge.  Focussing my efforts on improving in my  spiritual life, should take precedence over any other list I have with earthly goals and ambitions.

(Find a free, printable of this image here.)

1 comment :

  1. That was a lovely reminder. Your posts are a blessing to me.