Ephesians 5:15 has always been one of my favorite Scriptures. It says: "Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)" (The Amplified Bible).
I have never had a problem with being purposeful. My purpose was not always what it should have been, but I got up every day with the intent of making my life count. It is frustrating to see wasted potential because waste leads to regret.
I believe the first quarter of 2008 is a good time to take a serious inventory of what you are doing with your life, talents, energy, finances, time and everything in between. If you find that you are not doing your best, then make a decision to change. Have a plan for each day and work your plan.
Don't be legalistic and unwilling to bend if you need to alter your day, but don't start out with nothing. Successful people are always disciplined, and undisciplined people are always unsuccessful.
Are you easily swayed by what others want to do, or do you have a plan and stick to it? Are you doing what you love or just doing things to keep busy? Mark Twain said the secret of success was to be able to make your vocation your vacation.
I like that thought. I have experienced that feeling with my work. I love what I am doing so much that even when I am on a so-called vacation, I have trouble not pursuing my vocation. It is not hard to be dedicated to what you love.
Too many people never get around to fulfilling God's purposes for their lives because they're so busy keeping everyone else happy. The world is filled with people who think they know what you should be doing with your life. But the bottom line is it is your life, and when you stand before God, He will not ask anyone about your life except you.
You will give an account to God of how you've lived, and if you're not already doing so, start living in a way that will enable you to stand before Him without shame. Are you daring enough to follow your heart rather than the crowd? Are you focused even when many voices try to draw you away from your purpose?
An interesting phenomenon occurs when someone has no purpose. They get very irritated with people who do. I am frequently told that I am too intense, and perhaps that is true. But I would rather be too intense about what I am trying to accomplish than to be so easygoing that I miss God's best for my life.
The term "whatever" seems to be especially popular these days. That response to a direct question tells me that this person really doesn't care at all. Indifference is perhaps the greatest of all tragedies.
I've also noticed that the word "whatever" comes out when they don't agree with me. Instead of standing up for what they believe is right, they often cave in. That's not a good attitude. I don't like to see people being rebellious, but neither do I want to see them not care about what they believe is right.
We need to be intentional. We need to live life on purpose. We must not just wait around to see what everyone else is going to do and then follow the crowd. We must take a stand and set a standard that others will reach to achieve.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who wait for something to happen and those who make things happen. Don't say, "I wish they would do something about this problem." You are they—you do something!
Stir yourself up, make a decision, get going in a direction, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are our best teachers. Dedicate yourself to excellence and don't let your feelings run your life. Remember, you will always have them, but they don't have to have you.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, I Dare You (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at charismamag.com/meyer.