The First Step in Knowing Your Savior

How are your spiritual disciplines going? Job 23:12 says, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” At the beginning of each year, I evaluate my Bible reading/study, prayer, memory verses, journaling, and fasting with the goal of improving my existing disciplines and stretching myself to grow (more time spent in an existing discipline or adding another discipline). By March, we can become discouraged since all of our grand plans to pick ourselves up and get back on track aren’t working as well as we had hoped. Everything under the sun (husband/father calling in the middle of your reading, your boss adding to your work load, the drain is clogged – you name it) impedes our attempts to be with God. Satan doesn’t want us to read and at this point, quite frankly, we are ready to give up because it looks as though it is just not going to happen. But we have to persevere because we love Him. After all, He is the one who sent His Son to live here on earth to experience all of the difficulties that we have (even finding time to be with His Father), and then, to die so that we could be forgiven for not being with Him.

John 15:1-11 contains wonderful promises for us. First, we are connected to our beloved Father for the purpose of being like Jesus. It is not up to us, on our own, to show Jesus to those around us; He helps us! He also promises to give us trials so that we would be more like His Son. This may be painful but it is what we all want. Next, we are told that we are clean — I love this promise! I, like Paul, the worst of all sinners, am clean in God’s eyes because of what Jesus did on the cross  We confess our sin and are forgiven! John also says that we can have abundant joy! So we must choose to make time, to persevere when there is so very much to do each day, understanding that this is the most important thing that we will do each day.

What I am talking about is not legalism. We won’t earn favor from God if we spend time with Him –we already have His favor! If we don’t spend time with Him one day or only spend ten minutes with Him, we won’t lose His love. It’s like spending time with your fiance, you make time because you are so in love with him. But we do need to have this time with Him because He is more important to us than everything else. You will see more of the One who loves you like no other, you will have a firm foundation when the trials come, and you will be ready when He calls you to come home. I will end with a long time favorite verse– Luke 21:34, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down … with the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap.” I have to keep having this talk with myself, year after year.

So, how are your disciplines going? Don Whitney at BiblicalSpirituality.org has some great ideas for how to incorporate or improve your disciplines. Don has spoken at our church on several occasions–ask anyone who has heard him how much he has changed our lives in helping us to have a fun and interesting time with our beloved Father.

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