Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ice Cream Inspiration

                I like ice cream. My digestive track is not a fan of said ice cream, but there are some things in life worth suffering for! There is something about a cold double scoop of chocolate ice creamy goodness nestled inside a fresh waffle cone that makes a hot North Carolina summer a little more bearable. It refreshes the soul and gives you the break you need to keep pushing through the heat. My post today is not about ice cream, although, now that I described it I really would like to get some. My post is not intended to make you want ice cream either, but is does have something to do with inspiring others to be more than what they are. It is kind of like ice cream, because let’s face it, when you see someone walking around with a big honking scoop of ice cream you want some too! That is what I mean by being inspired and being an inspiration. Just like walking down the street and seeing that ice cream makes you want some, our lives should be just like that ice cream, making others want what we have.
               I once heard this ice cream analogy in regards to what the Christian life should look like. Our lives should be a constant inspiration to people we meet every day. They should take a look at us and want what we have. They should look at our lives and know that Jesus is the reason for all that we are all that we do and all that we say. They should be inspired to chase after Him by taking one look at our lives. They should be inspired to be more than they are because we desire to be more than we are.
                If you have been reading my blogs of late you will know that I am trying to change my life habits and form new, healthier ones. I am trying to eat right (well, minus the ice cream! Haha!) and have begun to exercise. I have also come to a point in my life where I am tired of wasting the beauty that God has given to us and have decided to begin living this life. I have decided to step out and begin enjoying the beauty of my God’s handiwork by cycling and just being out in the world He has created. I would like to say that my whole family has joined this new direction with me, but they have not. They are making different choices, and choosing to stay where they are at this time in their lives, and that is okay. Why is it okay? Because I realized that maybe, just maybe one of them might become inspired to more and do more than what they currently are. Maybe, just maybe the Lord has set me on this path not for my sake, but for their sake. Maybe this path is His way of inspiring someone else to make the changes He has shown them they need to make. Maybe, just maybe He wants me to be an inspiration to them.
                At first, when I thought about being an inspiration, I thought is sounded worldly and not Christian at all. I mean, the world talks all the time about being better people, be the better you, and we as Christians know that we can never be better people until we have fully and completely committed our hearts to Jesus Christ. Then and only then is it He who makes us better, not because we did anything, but because He did it all. But then, when I began to ponder on what it meant to be an inspiration I couldn’t help but think of my God. He is the one who has inspired me to be better, to go father, to push ahead to a higher calling. (Philippians 3:14) Day after day He inspires me to walk in faith, to trust in His word, to follow and chase after Him. He is the center of every single inspiration I have ever had.
           To inspire means to move or guide someone by divine influence. Think of your life. You were inspired by someone or something to follow after Jesus. You were inspired by someone’s testimony, or someone’s actions to push through that last trial you just faced. You were inspired by the Holy Spirit to bend your knees and confess the Lord Jesus Christ. Men and women throughout history have been inspired by God to do great things and to be better people because of Him. The men and women we read about from Genesis to Revelation were inspired by God to become kings, conquer lands, travel miles and miles of wilderness to reach a promised home. We read story after story of these men and women and we become inspired by their stories. A desire wells up in us to be better, to go father, and push harder into the great and mighty calling of God on our lives.
              Our God is a God who inspires. It is through His Holy Spirit that men were inspired to write the 66 books we know as the Bible. To be inspired means to influence to the point of change, to be inspired to move to a better place. It propels you, it pushes you, it takes you one step higher than where you were before. What if your obedience to walk in the path that God has set before you is exactly what someone needs to become inspired to walk out into their own? What if your willingness to step out in faith and be obedient to what God is showing you will be the inspiration that future generations will look to and be encouraged?
                To be inspired also means to be encouraged and to build up someone or something. This reminds me of something Paul wrote to us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” What if this path that you are pondering on whether or not to take is the one thing that your friend needs to see you step out in? What if your faith is what she needs to see to become inspired to chase after God for herself? What if your faithful obedience is the inspiration that she needs to become the woman that God has destined her to be?          
                Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 that we are to encourage one another. How do we encourage one another? We encourage through our words, our actions, and our faithful obedience to His word. We have all seen the stories, or read the testimonies of someone who has overcome some great obstacle in their life. What happens to your heart after hearing or reading these testimonies? Are you not inspired to go and climb that mountain you have been facing? Are you not inspired to keep pressing through the fog of your own life? We inspire greatness in others when we ourselves seek for greatness with and in our God.
                Your faith may be the inspiration someone else needs to start on their own journey. We do not live these lives alone. We are not on our own little islands, focused on our own little world. We are part of a body, a living and breathing body that needs every single one of us. (Ephesians 4:16) When we step out in faith, another part of the body is encouraged, and inspired to do the same. What we do today may be the inspiration that someone needs tomorrow to take that leap of faith and follow their own journey with God.

                Hebrews 11 is a perfect chapter to read when you need a little inspiration in your life. I like to call it my energy shot of faith when my heart wants to give up. Every time I read it I am inspired to be more, do more, go farther than I have before. I am encouraged and built up, inspired to be more than whom I am. I am inspired to be more of His and less of me. I am inspired to be obedient. These men and women lived lives that inspired nations to turn back to His Word, kings to bow in His presence, and lions to lay down next to them in peace. We too can be the inspirations God has called us to be. Take that step, jump up out of that comfort zone and be the inspiration someone needs to see. Be an inspiration. God has inspired me to start this journey of healthy living, and who knows what may come of it all. But maybe, just maybe someone can be inspired to be stronger, go farther and push harder than they did before. Maybe they will have the courage to step out and start their own journey of faith and become an inspiration to someone else.  Be inspired today and you will become an inspiration for someone tomorrow. May the Lord God speak His truth to us and through us for His glory, now and forever, in Jesus Name. Amen and Amen.