Living an Ascended Life (Part 1)

ascending

uhsen-ding ]

adjective

moving upward; rising; increasing; climb; go up!

In this season of isolation, I’ve been personally encouraged by the book of Proverbs, particularly chapter 15 in The Passion Translation, verses 13 to 33. This portion of scripture is titled Living an Ascended Life.

In a time where limitation and restriction can feel frustrating, these verses are a reminder that our lives can still ascend, still increase, and still continue to move forward.

There are six different proverbs that we can apply to our lives. Today I will focus on the first three.

  1. Choose to be Cheerful

15 Everything seems to go wrong
when you feel weak and depressed.
But when you choose to be cheerful,
every day will bring you more and more joy and fullness.

There is a strong correlation between choosing to be cheerful and being thankful. As you find things to be thankful for, it is easier to choose to be cheerful. In times of limitation, it is a daily (if not hourly) decision to be thankful. I’m thankful for our Church family. I’m thankful we can still connect online. I’m thankful for the nation of Australia. I’m thankful for our health workers and Government leaders. I’m thankful for those who are working around the clock to keep people safe.

The promise from this proverb is that as we choose to be cheerful – EVERY DAY will bring more joy and fullness.

  1. Live Simply

16 It’s much better to live simply,
surrounded in holy awe and worship of God,
than to have great wealth with a home full of trouble.

The promise from this Proverb is that as we live simply, there will be less trouble and strife in our home. In this season of lockdown, we have returned to basics–the simple life. People have been asked to stay home and spend time with family. The basics disappeared from our supermarket shelves–toilet paper, rice, pasta…

We’re seeing people return to basic home cooking. Last week my wife cooked this incredible bean dish out of seemingly nothing in the pantry. The resourcefulness that this season has generated is incredible. But it’s also provided us with an opportunity to focus on what really matters.

Dave Ramsay (financial guru and friend of our Church) advises that if your income has been impacted by the coronavirus, you should focus your finances on the basics:

  1. Food
  2. Utilities
  3. Shelter
  4. Transportation

The great Chris Hemsworth (I love Thor!) said his focus in this season will be on the basics:

  1. Movement
  2. Nutrition
  3. Mental Health

In a period of uncertainty, the best thing we can do is stick to the basics–live simply. Simplicity of life and resourcefulness may be a response to this crisis, but I believe these characteristics and behaviours will stay with us on the other side of this global pandemic.

  1. Hold to High Virtues

19 Nothing seems to work right for the lazy man,
but life seems smooth and easy when your heart is virtuous.

A virtuous heart is one that behaves with high moral standards regardless of who is looking. In this lockdown, let’s not slip or let go of Godly values or principles that have blessed us in days gone by.

I love how Ps Brian shared around the giving moment in our service recently. Speaking about tithing, he said, “Don’t walk away from the principle, the amount may change but don’t walk away from the principle.”

Let’s hold on to these high standards, the Godly principles that build our lives. The promise in this proverb is that when your heart is virtuous, life will seem smooth and easy. Even in the challenge, the sharp edges get smoothed over and there will be an ease.

Next week we will look at three more proverbs.

Big Love

JT