2 Chronicles 7:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.If my people would humble themselves and pray.
Sometimes God speaks to us in ways that are undeniable. Not in a spooky audible way, but through Scripture and by interrupting our daily “flow” by putting something on our hearts and mind during our usual routine or in times of prayer and intercession. Lately I feel like every scripture I read, every book I pick up, and every podcast I listen to leads me to desire a more simplistic and holy lifestyle or prayer and repentance.
If I’m honest with myself, I’m a mess constantly trying to solve my problems and difficult circumstances of life on my own, leaving me tired and insecure. I scheme and worry, I desire my own comfort over care for others and living the lifestyle Jesus calls us to in His Word. I’m thinking of my self most of time and neglect to focus on what matters most and what matters eternally.
I do desire a closer walk with God, but oftentimes I don’t desire it enough to actually put the work into it. As I read scripture and spend more time with God, I’m reminded that it’s really a simple solution. More time spent in PRAYER and STUDYING GOD’S WORD. I think we all know this, it’s no big surprise or mind blowing lightbulb moment.
If it’s so simple, why don’t we do it?
We heard a well known pastor and author speak last night and his message was a call for prayer and repentance. Not for unbelievers or people trapped in a terrible life of sin. This was a call for God’s people to pray and repent… church leaders, pastors and those that have put their faith in Christ and have been serving Him for years.
I think for those of us that have put our trust in God and have been serving Him for a long time, I think we get complacent in our faith. It’s easy to fall into the snares of this world and place all of our energy and time into things that don’t matter one bit or have eternal value. There are so many activities (even church activities), and distractions that are constantly coming at us from every direction. If we’re not careful, those things become our god and what’s even worse is that we don’t even realize it.
It’s hard to pray and read the Bible because sometimes God’s instruction through his Word can be hard to process and even more difficult to do!
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Mark 8:35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Matthew 10:38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Philippians 2:1-30 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, …
1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!
God calls us to die to sin and that’s just not always popular or fun, actually it’s probably never popular or fun. But it is essential to live the life that Christ has called us to live if we put our trust in Him.
Here are a few notes from last night’s speaker that are so valuable and timely as we try and live out our faith each day:
- If we want to live as Christ, we must die to sin
- Recognize the fact that we are prone to sin, but to hate that. We have to run from sin and not toy with it.
- Our western church culture does not have a hatred for sin. We show up for church week after week just going through the motions.
- We need a prayerful desperation for God
- Prayer is death to self, lack of prayer is pride, thinking we can do it ourselves.
I know these are heavy concepts but God has set us up as Christians with all the tools we need to succeed in this life. Yes, we will fail and sin, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. But for us, the good news is that Christ took on our sin and died for us, He’s already won the battle, we just have to stay focused on him. We have an eternal paradise with Him to look forward to. It’s a daily discipline to pray and stay in God’s Word, but it is so essential for our spiritual health and to stay focused, not wasting the time God has blessed us with here on this earth.