Todd Bailey Ministries

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Living Life Smarter, Not Harder

Todd Bailey

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Everyone has only one shot to live life.  We can either go through life or live it.  Each one of us, living long enough, will experience a broad range of circumstances during our life span.  Some will be quite enjoyable, yet others undesirable and potentially life threatening.  How we deal with these circumstances is what makes our lives better or worse.

I believe there are some practical steps that we can apply to live a better life.  I would like to share four of these steps I have used in my own life to live it smarter, not harder.

(1)   Ask the Holy Spirit to get involved.

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a Christian counselor.  He told me how individuals can become more effective in dealing with life’s problems and building stronger relationships when they ask the Holy Spirit to get involved.  He reiterated how we can have success when we allow the Holy Spirit to get into our thought process and allow Him the opportunity to be involved and give him time to work.

I can say that since that conversation, I have purposed to take this man’s advice.  There have been situations in my ministry, friendships and marriage where I didn’t know what to do or how to respond.  In those circumstances, I would say, “Holy Spirit, I am asking you to get involved in this situation and help me.”  To my amazement, things begin to happen.  What would seem like a developing ordeal or mounting problem would end up being resolved in a timely and pleasant manner.

The Holy Spirit is willing to help us.  The Bible calls Him our teacher, stand-by, helper and comforter.  All we need to do is just ask Him to get involved.

(2)   Ask for Godly wisdom.

In life, it is considered an asset for someone to have a good education, and to have access to others who can offer you good advice.  But to live life smarter and not harder, there is no substitute for Godly wisdom. 

The book of Proverbs gives us several verses related to Godly wisdom.

Proverbs 2:6 (Amplified) “For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Proverbs 3:13 (Amplified) “Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God's Word and life's experiences], For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, and the profit of it better than fine gold.”

Proverbs 4:7 (Amplified) “The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).”

God is fully willing and able to impart wisdom to us for every situation.  All we need do is ask.

James 1:5 (NLT) “If you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.”

(3)   Take action.

Most of the time, circumstances in our lives won’t be resolved or corrected until we take action.  In the first two steps – asking the Holy Spirit to get involved and asking for Godly wisdom – we should expect to receive when we ask.  When we knock, it will be opened unto us.  When we seek, we will find.

But remember, the Bible says in James 2:17-18, “So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).

When we act upon the leading of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God, it turns a big problem into a small ordeal; a major expense into pocket change; a big misunderstanding with your spouse into a moment of bonding and friendship.

Let me give you a few examples of how life can be lived smarter and not harder.

I have a good friend named Alonzo.  Alonzo is 85 years old.  After fighting in World War II, he went back to work at the steel mill near our hometown.  He worked there for 41 years until he retired in 1983.  During his tenure at the mill he worked in several job positions.  In one particular position, he became very knowledgeable and efficient.  One day he realized a smarter (and more economical) way to perform his job.  He went to the individuals in charge and submitted a suggestion for improvement.  Shortly after, the steel mill adopted his suggestion and even gave him a bonus for saving the mill tens of thousands of dollars.

Other friends of mine, Mr. Glen and Ms. Nancy, have helped numerous ministers, missionaries, Bible school students and neighbors over the years.  They both are very skilled and knowledgeable in many areas, and have done a lot of things for others.  Once, a young lady attending Bible School needed her car fixed.  The auto shop said it would cost a few hundred dollars to fix her car.  Mr. Glen decided to help her, and even though he has considerable knowledge of car repair, he always asked the Lord to help him apply that knowledge.  After checking her car, and observing the diagnosis of the other mechanic, he went to the store, bought a 19 cent screw and fixed the car!  Sometimes, a smarter way can be a less expensive way!

Let me give you one more story about living life smarter and not harder.

This story was in the newspaper several years ago.  An 18-wheeler truck drove under an overpass and got stuck.  It was wedged so tight that the highway officials were brought to the scene.  They tried to figure out how to get the truck released from the overpass structure.  Some thought that the top of the truck was going to have to be cut off, while others suggested that the overpass structure would need to be raised. 

Nevertheless, something needed to be done in a timely manner because traffic was becoming a major problem.  Much expense was expected to be needed to resolve the situation.  The solution to this major ordeal came from a most unlikely source – a small child.  This child, who was nearby the scene, simply told someone, “Why don’t you let the air out of the tires?”

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit will ask us to do something that might be different than our education or experience.  If we are to trust Jesus in our daily lives, we must trust Him with all our heart and lean not to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).   I have found this to be true; life experience isn’t the best teacher – the Holy Spirit is!

Living a smarter life instead of a harder life can be done with the smallest adjustments.  For example, if we need to move a large object in the yard, we shouldn’t try to lift it by ourselves.  We may end up with a bigger problem than the one with which we started.  To lift a large object, we need to find something such as a tree limb, or iron bar to use for leverage.  In the spiritual realm, the Holy Spirit is our leverage to move out problems in our lives.

When we work with God, not separate from Him, we become like Batman and Robin – the dynamic duo!

We can do more with God than by ourselves.  Just like two horses that can pull loads of 500 pounds a piece, hooked together, they can pull 1350 pounds!  Together we accomplish more than individually.

Sometimes, it’s not how much you know, but who you know.  There is always a smarter way and not harder way for many of the things we face in our daily lives.

(4)   Be thankful to God.

At times, we can forget to be thankful to God, not just in the big things but also the small.  Giving God thanks in a little situation Is just as important as not giving place to the devil by allowing the “little foxes” to come in and spoil the vineyard.

Jesus gives us a wonderful example of His thankfulness in John 11, before Lazarus was raised from the dead.

John 11:40-42 (NASB)

Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" So they removed the stone then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me." When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."

Before Jesus saw the manifestation of what He was asking for, He gave thanks to the Father.

Another instance of expression of thankfulness is in the cleansing of the lepers. 

Luke 17:11-19 (Amplified)

As He went on His way to Jerusalem , it occurred that [Jesus] was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee . And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us! And when He saw them, He said to them, Go [at once] and show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cured and made clean. Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice; and he fell prostrate at Jesus' feet, thanking Him [over and over]. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.

No matter the circumstances that we may face in life, we need to possess an attitude of gratitude towards God.  He is worthy to receive our thanks in everything. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (Message), “Thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”

I believe if we apply these four steps to our daily lives, we will have a life we will enjoy living – doing it smarter, and not harder.