Monday, February 24, 2014

Conditioning and Training to reach an Eternal Goal

Stop Trying and Start Training!

2 Peter 1: 3 – 4 (NLT) By his divine power, God has given us everything we need (emphasis mine) for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him (emphasis mine), the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises (emphasis mine). These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
I have been challenged lately to think about how I am living my Christian life. Am I “trying” to live by simply “trying” to abide by God's word fully knowing that when I mess up, I can just “try” again? Or, am I “training” to live this one and only life by getting into His word on a daily basis? Am I fully repenting of the things in my life that are not of Him and engaging the power of the Holy Spirit to be my helper and my guide. I heard a sermon about this topic a few years back and I can remember having to chuckle as I thought to myself “he must have had my cell phone line tapped in preparation for today’s sermon!” In recent months, a friend and I were “venting” about how chaotic our schedules had become and how our morning quiet times with God had suffered. We were both able to tell a difference in our attitudes at work and at home.
Chaotic schedules - I am sure on some level you can relate, right? The stress of our full-time jobs and the responsibility to meet deadlines coupled with the desire to make up the time we spend at work with our families, have made spending quality time with God an after-thought at best or non-existent at worst. How am I supposed to be fully devoted follower of Christ if I am not filling myself with the living water that springs up from the truth of God’s word on a daily basis?
There it was the truth about the “chaos” of my life. I had fallen into a pattern of “trying” to follow God wholeheartedly. I would stay up late working and then set my alarm in an attempt to get up early and start my day with a quiet time. It would work for weeks, sometimes months at a time. But all I was doing was “trying” to get up. My mind was not set that I was “going” to get up – I had not made it a priority. If I got up, I had a quiet time. If I didn’t, I blamed it on my hectic schedule, hit the alarm and rolled back over for one more hour of sleep. I had shoved spending daily time in God’s word to the “back-burner” of my day (or the back-burner of another day) and it was beginning to show across every area of my life. 
When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit exposes the truth about our sin (John 16:8), leads us into all truth (John 16:13), and takes what Jesus has to say and conveys it to us. That’s what Jesus promised and John wrote about in the sixteenth chapter of his gospel. But, there’s always a “but” isn’t there? But, we must do our part once we have accepted Christ by to get to know Him better. Acceptance of what Jesus did for us on the cross is not enough. Spending time in the Bible and hiding His words and promises in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) is essential on a daily basis. By doing this, we arm (or equip) ourselves with the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) so that when hard times come, we will be able to stand firm on the promises of God's word and not falter.
So what do you say? Are you “trying” to live this Christian life, relying more on yourself instead of the power of the Holy Spirit living within you? Or, are you in “training” to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14) If you are tired of doing the same thing over and over again just to get the same results, stop trying to follow Christ and start training. There are blessings that abound when we hide God’s word in our hearts.

Father – Thank you for opening my eyes to your truth. I know I have fallen into a pattern of “trying to follow you”, and that is not how I want to live this one and only life. I want to “train” to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus. I want to engage the Holy Spirit living inside of me and start listening to His voice. Help me to remove anything in my life that may be causing me to look at my circumstances first and you last. I want to put you first Father. Open my heart so that I may receive what you have for me each and every morning. For it’s in your son’s name I pray. Amen

repost from 1/13

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