April 28, 2020
Nominal Christians are like marathon runners who signed up for the race, got their official number, and bought the fancy running gear—but never went out and did the actual training ahead of time. They can’t run the race because they have not prepared. They haven’t developed the habits of faith—like prayer, Bible study, and worship—that would transform them into true disciples. They are not part of a community that can sustain and inform their worldview. They have the T-shirt but not the ability to complete the race. So they run in vain.
So you say you can’t take it, the price is too high. The feelings are gone it seems the rivers run dry. You never imagined it could turn out so rough. You give and give and give and still it’s never enough. Your emotions have vanished that once held a thrill, you wonder if love could be alive in you still. But that ring on your finger was put there to stay, you’ll never forget the words you promised that day. Jesus didn’t die for you because it was fun, He hung there for love because it had to be done, and in spite of the anguish his word was fulfilled, cause love is not a feeling it’s an act of your will.
If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!
If you believe God’s love for you is born solely out of pity, you underestimate his undying, consuming and relentless passion for you. When he wooed you to Himself, it was no ‘mercy date’. It was a radical, complete sacrifice on his part in order to bring you into a complete relationship with him. He’s not interested in a casual, platonic relationship!
Where the Spirit of God is, there is also singing. The early church was characterized by its singing; so also in every generation where there is renewal by the Spirit a new hymnody breaks forth. If most such songs do not have staying power, some of them do, and these become the treasure-trove of our ongoing teaching and admonishing of one another, as well as of our constantly turning to God the Father and God the Son and offering praise by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
On some days, at some times, prayer—for any of us—can start out as simply an obedient appointment, an act of discipline, showing up in that prayer closet because it’s the appointed time that we said we’d be there.
You will not stroll into Christlikeness with your hands in your pockets, shoving the door open with a careless shoulder. This is no hobby for one’s leisure moments, taken up at intervals when we have nothing much to do, and put down and forgotten when our life grows full and interesting… It takes all one’s strength, and all one’s heart, and all one’s mind, and all one’s soul, given freely and recklessly and without restraint. This is a business for adventurous spirits; others would shrink out of it. And so Christ had a way of pulling up would-be recruits with sobering and disconcerting questions, of meeting applicants – breathless and panting in their eagerness – by asking them if they really thought they had the grit, the stamina, the gallantry, required. For many, He explained, begin, but quickly become cowed, and slink away, leaving a thing unfinished as a pathetic monument of their own lack of courage and of staying power.
Take steps each day to be sure your life expresses commitment to Jesus.
The surest symbol of a heart not yet fully subdued to God and His will is going to be found in the areas of money, sex, and power: in wanting these things for ourselves. The surest symbol of spiritual earnestness will be the checkbook, the affections, and the ego-drive surrendered to Him. A disciple must have discipline. He must not be afraid of being asked by God for some of the time, the money, and the pleasure he has been in the habit of calling his own. This does not mean that there will not be time for the family, and time for some healthy diversion. But it does mean that we are never – on vacation, or wherever we may be – exempt from our primary commitment to Him.
Prayer is co-operation with God. It is the purest exercise of the faculties God has given us – an exercise that links these faculties with the Maker to work out the intentions He had in mind in their creation. Prayer is aligning ourselves with the purposes of God…Prayer is commitment. We don’t merely co-operate with God with certain things held back within. We, the total person, co-operate. This means that co-operation equals committment. Prayer means that the total you is praying. Your whole being reaches out to God, and God reaches down to you. Prayer is communion. Prayer is a means, but often it is an end in itself. There are times when your own wants and the needs of others drop away and you want just to look on His face and tell Him how much you love Him…Prayer is commission. Out of the quietness with God, power is generated that turns the spiritual machinery of the world. When you pray, you begin to feel the sense of being sent, that the divine compulsion is upon you…