Too often, our perspective on life is horizontal. What I mean is: We’re people-focused, not God-focused. You and I work very hard to please the people in our lives. We want to earn their approval for various reasons, and some of those reasons are good. Sometimes we’re motivated by a real love and compassion for our fellow human beings.
We want to benefit them and protect them from a destiny of destruction. Of course, some reasons may be more selfish, like wanting to get a promotion or a raise on the job; or desiring something they have.
Both kinds of desires represent a “horizontal lifestyle”. The focus is on us and other people, instead of God (a vertical lifestyle).
Both lifestyles are necessary, but the horizontal should flow naturally out of the vertical. They should not be two separate lifestyles. When our lives are vertical, (focused on knowing and loving God) the natural by-product is caring for others with a pure heart. Faulty motives should have no place.
Even as Christians, we live mostly horizontal. Yes, we share the gospel with more people today than before, but what we’re presenting isn’t life changing. We’re reproducing ourselves instead of reproducing Jesus!
We are called to re-present Jesus here on earth, but that’s only possible if we are filled with Him. God can’t work through us what He hasn’t first worked in us. If your life isn’t vertical enough, you can only give others what’s inside of you (which quickly runs out).
How can we turn this around, be more vertical than horizontal? Here are some very practical, life-changing steps.
- Pray at least once a day, asking God to give you a pure heart and right motives. (Matthew 5:8). That prayer lines up with God’s will for you and He will answer it.
- Make it a priority to worship the Lord three times a day. Just two or three minutes several times a day releases your love and adoration for God. It strengthens your spirit-man. As your spirit goes, so goes your whole life!
- Remind yourself daily how God has delivered you and where He has taken you. Bringing back to your conscious mind how God’s miracles have changed your life and destiny will make you immensely more vertical-minded almost immediately. I’m sure that, like me, Jesus has delivered you many times since He came into your life as your Lord and Savior. Bring to mind your latest life-changing breakthrough.
- Now share that testimony with one person every day. Make it a habit to share God’s glory with someone each day.
- Refuse to get offended! When someone hurts you, and they will, choose to deal with it immediately. Don’t stuff it down in your heart.
These few steps will keep you vertical, not just horizontal. I assure you that when you live a vertical lifestyle, your horizontal life will be very successful as well!