The wisdom of A.W. Tozer never ceases to astound me. Let me share some words of his I recently read: “Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done, but by how much I could have done! In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given, but by how much I had left after I made my gift.” He goes on to say that “[Jesus] sacrificed many pure enjoyments to give Himself to the holy work of moral rescue. His conduct was determined not by what was legitimate or innocent, but by our human need. He pleased not Himself but lived for the emergency; and as He was so are we in this world!” (“Renewed Day by Day Volume 1”, 2/19)
Archives for February 2014
Earl D. Ramacher said, “I become today, by what I do with what God gave me, what I will be in the life to come. Today is a day of becoming. Then will be a day of being what I have become.” This is a truth that followers of Jesus must keep foremost in their minds. It’s something typical Christians scarcely consider. What we do today has massive implications on how we will spend eternity. Much like the metaphor of a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world causes a Tsunami in another, our small actions today ultimately will shape and define our spiritual destiny.
The spiritual battle that wages around us is often played out through the voices in our head. Every day we face a constant barrage of nonstop conversation within our own mind and it can be hard to discern which voice to listen to and which one we should disregard. How do we know when its God speaking to us, when it’s the devil, and when it is simply our own thoughts? The constant tension between the voices is a source of great consternation for most of us. Fortunately, it’s a lot simpler than you think to sort out who’s got the microphone at any given moment.
Kyle Idleman, author of the fantastic books “Not a Fan” and “Gods at War”, recently wrote of his experience with the persecuted church in Southeast Asia. When someone there is contemplating becoming a follower of Christ, they are asked some very difficult questions: “Are you willing to lose your job and home?”; “Are you willing to be beaten and thrown in jail because of your faith?”; “Are you willing to die for Jesus?” This is in stark contrast to how the Western Church leads people into the Kingdom. We ask them to raise their hand, pray a prayer, and maybe come to the front of the group; and we have the audacity to say these actions require great boldness!
Discipline for many is a dreaded word. For most it means doing something that at best is uncomfortable. Without a doubt, discipline means not doing something that would be easy, and doing something that is more difficult instead. We see discipline as engaging in a less enjoyable exercise instead of just doing what we want to do. Spiritual disciplines generally mean spending time or effort on God’s behalf rather than our own (although I would argue that anything we do that glorifies God is ultimately better for us anyway). Craig Groeschel gave a great definition of discipline in a recent message he preached. He said that, “Discipline is doing the right thing regardless of how you feel in the moment.”