01 April 2009

in or out

Psalm 1 (emphasis added)
Blessed is the man who does not walk 
in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and 
whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I think there comes point in of every Christian's life that is dry. Well, no; it's much better said that there are many points that seem dry. During these times, everyday becomes the same, and everyone is the same. There is nothing unexpected that happens; nothing that stirs up true passion or makes our hearts yearn. Devotions are the same old story. We pray the same prayers, every time a little more briefly than the last. We go from GREAT! to hey, all right! to okay to meh to lame. There's a steady decrease in how much we offer ourselves to the Lord everyday. In certain circumstances we start taking him off the throne and putting ourselves up there. If we aren't getting fed spiritually, then we default to feeding our flesh. We become so susceptible to doubt, believing lies, feeling condemned, and to giving up. Oh if only we would realize that these are the times to press in all the more! There are greater things ahead!

I don't know about other Christians so much, but I certainly am dealing with this right now. This is a time to allow God to reveal what it is within me that causes me to (want to) rebel. Where am I allowing my flesh to be fed? I pray that the Lord is pruning those things and cutting those branches off of me. They are the branches that bear no fruit. They are the things that cause us to be half-hearted in this world, but we must be in it completely for his sake! What is the cost of following Jesus? It is giving up our own lives. That doesn't necessarily mean that all of us will be physically martyred for the sake of Christ, but that is how we should live everyday. Perhaps it means giving up the hour (or 2 or 3) we spend on Facebook or doing whatever else to be meditating in his Word. We cannot be living lives sold-out for him if we set aside 50% of our hearts for God and the other 50% for our own comforts, to do whatever else we want. "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to done and despise the other..." (Matthew 6:24).

Right about here, I tend to think, "Man being a Christian seems really boring." 
Lie: God is boring. 
Truth: God is not boring.
Psalm 1, "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Sometimes that sounds like reading a chemistry book to me. Fortunately, God has created some things called LOVE and PASSION which are great! These aren't things to be worshipped, but rather the result of worship, of taking the time to get to know him. Once I heard somebody put it this way:
Reading the Bible and getting to know God is like working out at the gym. The very first time you go to the gym, it's really really hard. It might get kind of boring, and you're not sure what to do exactly. The next day you're kind of sore. Reluctantly, you go back the next day, and then the next, and the next. The more you go, the stronger and healthier you get, and the more fun it becomes. Yes, it is difficult, but the victory in the end is greater than the temporary pain.

Perhaps getting to know the Lord is so much more of a mental thing than we realize. If we are physically running and thinking things like, "I don't want to do this. I'm tired, I have to get to work in a couple hours, and this running thing is a burden," we won't get anywhere. But we can press through, we can overcome! We are more than conquerers! Somos más que vencedores! I've found that while I am running (again, physically) and thinking positive thoughts, not focusing on the blister on the bottom of my foot or the pain in my muscles, but rather keeping my eyes up, forward, and towards the finish line, I have a much better experience all around. I enjoy it, and I'm able to go farther. Yes, it is hard, but it is good. Is it not the same thing with the spiritual marathon of this life? 

Here are some well-known verses having to do with the race:

"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5)

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)

I must tell you, time is running out. As the bride of Christ, we cannot afford to waste anymore time living without a love and passion for him (read Matthew 25). He is coming again! This love and passion isn't something we can force or create ourselves. We cannot love God unless he loves us first. We cannot worship him unless he calls on our hearts. But if we seek after him, we will find him. We must fall in love with him and not with the things of this world! Song of Songs 8:6-7, "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away...."

Hosea 10:12 (emph. added), "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you."

No comments: