Our daughter has been in Paris for six weeks of her twelve-week language immersion trip. Just about every day, my wife and I hope she will post pictures of the places she’s been so we can pretend we’ve been there too. We want to live vicariously through her experience.
I must admit, though, being on the outside looking in on someone else’s experience isn’t as fun as it sounds, not even close. All I can do is watch what’s happening and wish it was happening to me.
Sadly, many people live their lives that way. Scrolling through social media and wishing they had someone else’s fortune, family, or faith. But that kind of life really isn’t any life at all. It’s actually a fake life that’s never been lived.
The truth is, God never created you to live someone else’s life. Instead, he wants you to live yours. Because you’re you, and that’s who God created you to be.
So how do you move from the outside looking in to truly living?
1. Get off the couch and the phone.
Couches are meant for relaxing, taking naps, or watching movies, not for living. If you live your life from there, you’ll never go anywhere or do anything for God.
Your phone is for making phone calls, taking pictures, and sending heart emojis to your wife. It’s not for living your life through someone else’s social media thread. God has a better life for you than that.
The Bible says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The couch and phone can’t give you what Jesus can.
2. Be a contributor and not a consumer.
There are a lot of takers in this world. Don’t be one of them.
Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
Consumers are always on the outside looking in. They never get to experience the joy of giving because they’re always too busy taking. As a result, they miss out on God’s blessing. Don’t let that be you.
3. Start serving instead of expecting to be served.
It’s not about you. That’s why serving is so important to your spiritual growth. People who expect to be served will always be on the outside looking in. And they are typically the grumpy ones.
The sign of greatness has nothing to do with how many people serve you. At least, that’s what Jesus taught.
He said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:26-28)
People on the outside always expect people to do things for them. People on the inside are always looking for a way to serve others. That’s what makes them like Jesus. They aren’t just spectators. They are life-changing participants in the kingdom of God.