“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9

Years ago at the start of the computer revolution, a new word was coined. In those days computers were new and people were struggling on how to maximize their effectiveness. Bad data was consistently entered leading to a universal truth: If the raw data is bad, the computer can’t do anything good with it. What you put into a computer determines what comes out. This led to a new word, GIGO. It stands for Garbage In, Garbage Out. If your input is garbage, guess what your output will be? Yep, garbage. The computer cannot fix or make sense of bad input.

What is true of computers is also true of Christians. Just as the computer quickly knows that the data is bad and unusable, God knows when we are submitting bad data to Him. He knows garbage when He sees it. I used the word “crap” in Sunday’s message but garbage sounds a little less descriptive and a little less earthy.

The truth is Christians collect a lot of garbage over their lives. Garbage that we need to rid ourselves of in order to have a better relationship with God. Because if we don’t, it starts to smell and eventually harms our relationship with God. And we talked about on Sunday, one area of garbage is when we try to run the bases our way, to ignore the patterns set forth by God and then ask for His blessing. God sees it is garbage in and will not bless us or show us favor.

The way to rid ourselves of the garbage in this area is by finding our purpose in our creator, not my career which means we run the bases and follow the patterns God has set for us. We can start by acknowledging that we can’t do it alone, and ask for Jesus’ help. We then have to surrender our will to His, meaning we will let God’s Holy Spirit work in us to move us from base to base in the right order.

Doing things God’s way is how you find joy and fulfillment. God has sustaining grace for each base in the Home Run Life. His timing is perfect. His purposes are powerful.  As a Christian, seek God’s convicting power to be at work in your life to expose any area of garbage or crap in your life. Then resolve within your heart to walk in the Spirit and ask for God’s grace to enable and assist you in your desire to live a life glorifying to God. Doing things “my way” can at most achieve goals within that person’s capabilities. Doing things God’s way opens the way to achieving goals that lie within God’s capabilities.

To do this we must practice the various spiritual disciplines, such as attending weekly worship services, praying, having a daily quiet time (such as using our daily devotional), and participating in a Northstar Group. That may seem like a lot of work, but it isn’t. These eventually become part of your life, and pretty soon you can’t imagine a day without them. Do these things and the amount of garbage in your life will diminish.

The best thing we can offer God is an undivided heart. God is looking for people who are willing to put Him first, to push away distractions and make Jesus central. When we are willing to live a Home Run Life according to God’s instructions, we will receive the favor and blessings of God.

Discussion Question:

  1. Have you ever run the bases backwards? Have you ever thought about running the bases backwards?
  2. Do you have a tendency to see half the baseball diamond as God’s (or sacred) and half yours (secular)?
  3. How effective is your garbage removal system? How often do you take the garbage out?
  4. True life change comes only through partnership with God and must begin with a rejection of all faulty, self-centered methods. These faulty, self-centered methods have become a part of our culture and even our own way of life. Where do you think these faulty methods of change came from? Why do people cling to these methods? In what ways do these faulty methods have a partial truth that can seem to be correct?
  5. Pray and ask God to help you follow His patterns and His commands for life.