Your Life is Full of Opportunities
Biblical Keys to Building a Legacy that Will Not Pass Away
Building a legacy involves taking the opportunities that come across your path for growth, and maturity in God. Your life is full of opportunities. The question is: Will you take them, or will you even recognize them when they come? These opportunities aren’t just in the high points of our lives but also in adversity and the hardest times. What we choose to do with each season of our lives will establish who we become and whether or not we grow up into the character of God and who He created us to be.
When you said yes to the Lord Jesus Christ, you probably didn’t really know what you were signing up for. When you asked Him to be the Lord of your life, you also were saying, “I trust you to be the architect of my journey. Here’s my life; I’m going to live it for you.”
The Holy Spirit then joined you at the time of conversion and salvation. He became the one who decides how to build your house, what your journey will look like, and how to run the race.
Running in darkness
I recently realized that the race we are running is actually in the dark. And it’s not just a nice track that’s flat and paved. It’s a cross country race. It’s like the Pilgrim’s Progress; it’s filled with all sorts of distractions and hills, and it’s all in the dark. Why do I think that? Because the Bible says that the Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Why would you need a lamp if you were running in broad daylight and could see everything around you?
God’s Word shows us what is ahead, and exposes the distractions, the temptations, the obstacles, the valleys and the mountains, and even the rocks that we might trip over.
Embracing life’s seasons
Ecclesiastes, chapter three says:
To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV
In this scripture, we see that God is telling us that our journey is not going to be on that nice flat race track. On this journey, there is a time for each one of the things in this scripture. None of us want to deal with some of the elements in here. Who wants war? Who wants death? Who wants to shun? Nobody wants to do that. It’s uncomfortable.
Adversity can have good side effects
Let’s look at Ecclesiastes 7:
A good name [is] better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. [It is] better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that [is] the end of all men; and the living will lay [it] to his heart. Sorrow [is] better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise [is] in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools [is] in the house of mirth. [It is] better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools…Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. Better [is] the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: [and] the patient in spirit [is] better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7: 1-5, 7-8 KJV
There are good things that come out of adversity. They are essential for us to learn and grow up in while we walk on our journey. We can gain wisdom, healing for our hearts, and build our trust and strength in God.
God made a provision for you
Even when you’re disobedient, God’s already made a provision to recover you. He’s made that provision because the possibility of you being disobedient is pretty good. It’s not that he’s expecting or not expecting you to stumble; He’s made the provision in case you do. That’s what the cross did. Even when you make the wrong choice and you’re disobedient, and you sin, that is not an insignificant moment. That moment just taught you what the wages of sin are. When we find ourselves running in the dark, we always have the choice to come back to the light and allow God’s Word to lead us again.
Falling and stumbling, or getting lost in the dark is going to happen sometimes because not everyone is going to make the right decision all the time. There was only one person that did that- our Lord, Jesus Christ. He showed us that there was a way to get out of this. Praise the Lord for that! Your life is full of opportunities. The question is, are you going to be obedient?
God set it up so that there is a time and a season, and a place for everything. There’s a time to succeed. There’s a time to fail. But if you fail, you get to choose if you will repent and get up again and get back on the track.
Building endurance for the race
It takes work to run this race. It’s not just a quick sprint and you’re done, and you measure how fast you got there. No, it takes work, it’s an effort, and it’s not easy. If it was easy, then we’d all be happy all the time. Everything would go our way, and we wouldn’t need a relationship with God. I don’t know exactly why God has us on this type of journey, but I know that He’s got a plan for us even on into eternity. We’re going to need to have this under our belt. God wants to know who He’s got standing beside Him in His family for His Kingdom.
This journey is not for the faint-hearted; it’s for those who have decided, “I’m in.” They don’t wimp out because of the first adversity.
Blessings come with God’s ways
Matthew 5 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God,” That’s humility, it can be hard to stay humble. “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” That means that they are mild, and they are gentle. They are not in your face all the time. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” That takes a labor too, because you have to want to be righteous and overcome self pity. You have to want God’s character. You have to need it and want it with your very being. That means you need to let go of some things in your life that you’ve gotten comfortable with and are holding you back.
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” It’s not always easy to be merciful, especially if you feel like your anger is justified. Sometimes people really do bad things to people, but we still have to remain merciful. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Remember, these things take an effort to become. We can’t just decide one morning that we are going to be merciful today. It takes a working of the Holy Spirit in your heart to form that character quality in you.
Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:10-12 KJV
Every moment is an opportunity
It’s hard to do those things; there is nothing easy about it. Remember, your life is full of opportunities. Every moment of breath is an opportunity. There is no insignificant moment. When I look back and see what Henry’s and my lift looked like until he passed away, I see that everything had a purpose. But when you stop breathing, your opportunities are over.
So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12 KJV
No moment is insignificant, but that doesn’t mean that we go into drivenness and performance and say, “Oh my goodness, today, what am I going to do?!” It’s not about doing a whole bunch except for saying “yes” to God and participating with Him as His Spirit leads. It’s not about being driven to do anything. Drivenness is not from God.
Take each opportunity
This is about taking the opportunities that lay before you. If you indeed trust God, He’ll prepare you for every moment of everything. But if you don’t let the seasons of Ecclesiastes be what they are, you won’t know if you trust God or not. You can say, “I trust God” all day long, but that can become a cliché. You might say, “Well, my finances are really messed up. But I just trust God.” That does not necessarily mean that you are actually trusting God to show you how to do it. We might say we have faith, but faith is an action, it’s not waiting for God to pour a million dollars over our head.
Our journey of growing up
Henry and I didn’t set out to be some sort of standard for married people. We had failed in so many things before we got together and we had a lot of stuff to work through. We both had junk but we were going to whittle away at it together by being obedient to God. It wasn’t really about anyone else; it was about us. We just stuck with it because we both believed wholeheartedly that God wanted marriage to be amazing. So we worked at it, and it was hard.
Through that, God grew us up to be a standard for others. We used to ask each other, “How did that happen?” I don’t know, it just did. We didn’t set out to do or to be anything. We just set out to deal with our stuff and then good fruit came out of it. We didn’t know that’s what we’d become; we were just being obedient.
Don’t let your feelings rule your choices
I want to say this to you; feelings lie to you. When Henry died, my body was in shock. I could hardly move, yet my spirit was still at peace, trusting God. I didn’t have the time or the wherewithal to rebuke what was going on in my body because I was in the moment, and things were happening so fast. You’ve got to understand that the enemy can make you feel so many things that are not real. But so many people are led by their feelings. If it feels good, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. Or “I feel loved” then “I don’t feel loved.”
If you are a child of God, regardless of whether or not you feel loved, you ARE loved. God’s love cannot fail! God is love, trust God. The Word says that you’re supposed to glory in tribulation. Tribulation doesn’t feel good. Tribulation is still important though, because if you are really trusting God and yielding to Him, whatever happens to you is going to add something to your character. That is God’s character being deposited in you.
Glorying in tribulation
We’re supposed to glory in tribulation. Was I thrilled that my husband passed away? Absolutely not! Was I mad at God? No. Was I mad at the doctors? No. Was I mad at Henry? No!
It wasn’t my decision. How God decides to take us on our journey is really His decision. You can choose to take the trail of disobedience, that’s your decision. Or you can keep plodding on the steady road, dealing with life the way you are supposed to. Then, when you get done, you get to hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I have no doubt that’s exactly what Henry will hear, or heard.
Pastor Henry’s legacy
Henry left a legacy. A legacy is something that a person leaves behind to be remembered by. Legacy focuses on what will endure. I’m reminded of the scripture about the wood, hay, and the stubble. What is not of God will get burned up, but whatever remains is of God. It’s about passing on things of lasting value to those who live on after us. Legacy involves living intentionally. Remember, every moment is significant. We need to be intentionally aiming to build into the next generation for their success. Henry didn’t try to build a legacy because that’s what he wanted. He was building a legacy for God, not for himself.
Building a legacy doesn’t have to be something like a ministry or a church, but are you building a legacy in your own life? The only thing that is truly going to remain is the Word of God. I’ve visited castles and fortresses that are hundreds of years old, but they crumble. They’re going to go away. The only thing permanent that you can build in your life is what is founded in the Word of God.
So I’m asking you, is everything you’re doing based on the Word of God? Are you leaving a legacy to those around you that they will remember? If you look back at the beatitudes, those people are blessed because of their faithfulness. If you’re not one of those people, when you go to the dust, who’s going to remember your legacy?
Even if people don’t remember Henry a few generations down the road, they will remember what he taught. This is the hope of the generations!
Honesty and no fraud
Through the course of our marriage, Henry’s personality came out as he felt safe with me in our relationship, and I felt safe with him. We all saw the fruit of that labor that he walked through of allowing God to make him into the person he was supposed to be in honesty and no fraud. God wants that for you too. It’s a labor. It was not easy for Henry either. Trust me, I was right by his side.
What I’ve learned now, more than ever is that when I am weak, God is strong. If I look strong, that tells you how weak I really am, and how strong He is in me. You’re seeing His strength holding me up.
When I stood beside Henry’s body after he’d flown away, I said, “No fear and no fraud.” That’s my promise. I’m telling you to do the same thing. Time is shortening regardless of whether or not it’s actually the time for this world that’s shortening or we’re getting older. We live to die. When you took your first breath, you began your dying process. Now, what do you do between? Everyone has an allotted time.
Don’t fear adversity or fall under it
God created time for a purpose. Henry is out of time. He’s done, and I’m sure he did it the way he was supposed to do it. We cannot be afraid of the times that we are faced with adversity and things are rough or hard. We should be really happy when things are going great. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy because he wants to do that. He doesn’t want you to feel the joy of good things. But at the same time, when things don’t go the way you think they should, don’t let those times mold you. Don’t let losses of any type mold you. The only thing that can mold you is the scriptures.
I’m going to be okay because God’s the architect of my journey. You are too. We’re going to be more than okay because we are overcomers; we’re more than conquerors.
A different perspective on loss
Don’t let loss drive you into self-pity or some other weird place. Loss is built into the scriptures to add to you. Loss is kind of like a dichotomy. On the one hand, we think that it’s an awful thing. But you need to start telling yourself that loss is not bad. Loss is just another piece that adds to your character and how you deal with life. This part of life is important, not just success, and happiness, and all of that, although that is good too.
There is a time for all of this because we’re supposed to glory in tribulations. That’s a very important part of our walk as believers. The things that we view as failure or loss we have to completely trust God with. That is what adds to our hearing, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” This is when we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.
Comfort in the knowledge of God
In this area of my life, God added an amazing amount of faith and hope. I am so comforted with the knowledge of God and where we are going as believers. God’s just opened a new depth that I never saw before. You don’t have to go through what I just did to have that. You just have to understand that loss is not evil.
Even if the devil is stealing, what matters is how we approach it with God. Remember that the Word says that you won’t always do it right. But there is provision already made for you when you don’t.
My prayer for you
My prayer for you for 2020 is that you will be faithful and steadfast in your journey. Learn to trust God and allow Him to recover you when you fall. Learn from every season and allow Him to grow His character in you through it. This is how you will find a life worth living and leave a legacy worth remembering. Your life is full of opportunities; learn how to recognize them, and to take them!
Pastor Donna Wright
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