Are you a list person? I tend to live my life by paper lists. Right now I have a grocery list, a wedding list, a thank-you card reminder list, a priority list, a hospitality list, a prayer list, and a vacation list in my planner. I write these things down so I can know where I want to go, remember to do what must be done, and ultimately, live by my ideals.
The Bible has some very helpful “life lists” for us as well. They give us guidelines and boundaries. They give us a vision for the future and cover almost every situation .They tell us when we are out of step with God’s will.
I shared one of these lists with a lady I recently counseled. She wanted help with a relational problem in her family and asked me for a book recommendation on the subject. After listening to her story, I shared one of my Life Lists with her. She didn’t need better communication skills and she didn’t need another how-to book. She simply needed to put into practice the simple truths of scripture. “Be ye kind…let no unwholesome speech come out of your mouth…love one another fervently…”
I’ve found this true in my own family. No marriage book will strengthen our marriage if I blurt hurtful things to my husband or disrespect him.
A seminar won’t help interpersonal problems if you’ve held a grudge over someone’s head, dwelling on their offenses when Scripture commands us to forgive.
No mentor will help you become a gracious, thriving ministry wife if you are unloving or resentful to even just one of the people in your congregation. Loving others is not optional.
Lists help us gauge where we are headed and can help us anticipate outcomes and consequences. Wisdom would dictate that we take this seriously.
Here are 10 Lists that will help you and give you direction as you seek to grow in Christ-likeness.
If you want direction and an example of a life well lived, this list tells you the good deeds that qualify an older widow for church support:
having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 1 Timothy 5:10
And if you want to know whether you are qualified to mentor others or if the mentor you are choosing is a wise choice, consider this:
teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3
If you want to know if your attitude is right toward another person:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph. 4:31,32
If you want to know if your actions and attitude are Spirit led:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.… Gal. 2:22,23
If you want to know if your actions are wrong, carnal, or fleshly:
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.… Gal. 2:19-21
If you need to evaluate whether your love for another person is self-centered or Biblical:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor 13:4-7
If you need to identify and stop your wrong behavior:
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col.3:5-10
If you want to know what your daily wardrobe should look like:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:12-14
If you need to know true wisdom vs earthly wisdom:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.
But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:13-17
If you want to know how to grow in godliness:
For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 2 Peter 5:7
Of course, there are many more. And let’s not forget that there are things we should never keep lists of:
- the offenses of others against us
- the failures that are behind, former things
- worries about tomorrow
If you are struggling with one of these areas, write out these lists as a reminder and post it where you can see it often. It helps so much!