What comes to your mind when you think of fall? Apple cider, hay rides, wiener roasts, raking leaves, home improvements? I always get a burst of energy with the cooler weather, ready to tackle those projects we’ve been putting off. This past spring we relocated and bought a house that’s only six years old, but somehow I still have a wish list.
The truth is, year-round, we’re either maintaining our house or allowing it to deteriorate. This holds true not just for our physical house but for our life. Every word we say, every choice we make, every action we take affects our relationship with God and our relationships with family and other people. Every day we do things that either build up or damage our “house.”
No matter how many improvements we make to our house, it won’t do much good if we start with shoddy construction. The same is true for our life. So we want to make sure that we’ve built our life according to God’s blueprint. Here’s a checklist:
We can base our life on a lot of different things—some of them good, but there’s only one foundation guaranteed to last for eternity. The foundation of our life should be the same as the foundation of our faith—the gospel and a lifestyle of obedience to God’s Word.
We can’t necessarily tell what the foundation of a house is like by looking at it. It might look fine from the ground up, but not be solid down where it counts. Our life can look fine from the outside—even like we’re a devoted follower of Christ—until some trial comes and then it starts to crumble.
God’s instructions provide boundaries for our protection. When we’re young, we think that His commands are to keep us from having fun, but they’re for our own good, to keep us safe and to let us have the fullest life possible. Sometimes we have to learn the value of these “walls” the hard way.
We need prayer to cover us, especially when the storms of life beat down on us. Putting a roof on a house is hard work. (I know because I spent a week one summer doing that.) Daily, consistent prayer takes work, but if we neglect it, we may find our roof leaking.
We can decorate our life with worldly things, like money, popularity, whatever trends are considered cool. Or we can have a life furnished with a “fruit theme”—Fruit of Spirit listed in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That decorating scheme never goes out of style.
Is there an area of your life you need to work on improving this fall? Don’t forget to read God’s Instruction Manual on putting your life together. When we ignore His directions, we can end up with a real mess.
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook or Twitter.