Improving Constantly

Improving Constantly: Others, Yourself

Do you ever think you will reach a point where you have "made it?" If you do, then you haven't. "Making it" in life is dynamic, not static.

To truly live life you need to focus on four things that the title mentions:
1) Improving - moving forward, upward, a higher goal
2) Constantly - not static, not resting on your laurels, not complacent, it is daily
3) Others - go outside of yourself - focus on helping others
4) Yourself - a life that is not examined is not worth living. See where you can improve and work on it.

People want to live a life that counts, but so many complain that they feel their life has little significance or purpose. The root reason for this is typically that one or two things or both are not present in their lives.

The first is that a person feels insignificant when they do not have a higher purpose, a goal to cause them to strive forward. They are stuck in today. This person has accepted the status quo as acceptable or OK and nothing needs changing. They may not be willing to change because change (any change) may be too uncomfortable. This can show up in any or all areas of our life: marriage, family, health, work, finances, spiritual, educational, ethical and social.

Sometimes the status quo is actually destructive behavior and is constantly causing you to self-destruct: anger, debt, licentious living, obsessed with self, no spiritual feeding, co-dependency, etc. Whatever you did yesterday will work for today. Is that you? Do you feel that changing is more difficult than sitting where you are? (That happens typically because you have not identified what to change and the benefits of that change. You fear the process of change more than the benefit.)

As Robert Schuler says "Real excitement comes as you make constant commitments to new projects that hold creative challenge."

The second typical cause of insignificance is that a person is solely focused on themselves. Everything they do has the root motivation of "What's in it for me?" This person has not matured and gained the understanding that true significance is achieved when our activities benefit others.

To achieve significance in life requires constant change, constant improvement: you will have to change yourself and serve others. The good news is that as we focus on serving others, we improve.

A perfect example of this is the stories you hear of people working in the Peace Corps, helping hurricane victims, working in the inner city, or going on a short term mission trip, etc. They all say that they went on the trip or got involved to help others and help change the "local" situation. When they return from the trip, most reply that the person who changed the most was themselves. Their life is significantly improved, has greater meaning and they see other's needs more clearly and focus less on self. When we take the focus off ourself and onto others, it opens up our mind to enable change.

If you need to begin a process of improvement, begin by getting involved in something bigger than yourself and that is outside your control. Your improvement will come from your character being changed as you serve others.

If your marriage is struggling, adopt a project serving others that you and your spouse work on TOGETHER. (Both must agree of the value and the effort required.) This will improve your marriage and minimize your disagreements.

Faith

2 Peter 1:5-8
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Constant improvement comes when our lives are submitted to the rule and will of God, a God who loves us and deeply cares for us. The above verse says "make every effort" which is a daily process, not just once a week.

When we make every effort to add to our faith these things, God will work in our life to do so. Goodness, knowledge, perseverance, self-control, brotherly kindness and godliness are all character qualities of God. If you notice, each character is fully lived out when it is focused on others through faith (faith in the power of God to strengthen, encourage, support and change you.)

God created us to have significance when our lives are constantly improving by growing closer to Him and by serving others. The 1st and 2nd greatest commandments are: love God and love your neighbor. By living out these we are effective and productive having meaning through glorifying God.

If you are stuck, take the focus off yourself. Begin by just worshiping God. A total focus on worshiping God (not yourself) is the first step in opening your mind to change. The areas that you have tried on your own but can't improve, give them to God in worship. Focus on Him and He can bring about change in you and in your situation.

Improve today by serving God through serving others!
 

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