In these crazy and unpredictable days, it’s hard for me not to feel like I’m sounding like a broken record. The Gospel is a simple message, and there are only so many ways to tell the story. The same is true for discipleship, which is the natural follow-up to salvation. To be a disciple of Jesus means we do what Jesus commands us to do. Discipleship demands we live lives where we love like Jesus.
At the core, disciples are those who love God with their entire heart, soul, strength, and mind (Mark 12:28-30). And we love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet we will fill our minds with everything happening around us if we aren’t careful and intentional with our thinking. We will get caught up in the flow of culture and drift from our King and our purpose instead of focusing on Jesus’s beauty and His mission.
How do we avoid letting the circumstances and happenings of life determine how we live? We’ve got to devote ourselves to the study of God’s Word and spending significant time in prayer with our Father. I’m certain many of you read that and rolled your eyes. You’ve tried reading the Bible before and it failed to keep your interest. Perhaps praying didn’t yield the results you wanted or seemed too tedious. Satan loves to make your prayer and study time seem boring and ineffective. The devil doesn’t have to worry about you if he can keep you from drawing closer to God. Satan wants you to stay self-absorbed and continue wasting your days in pursuit of anything other than Jesus.
If the Bible seems irrelevant or boring, it is probably because you are approaching it with the wrong perspective or attitude. The Bible is not a book about you or even an instruction manual for life. It is the story of God, His love, and His plan for redemption.
The Bible is not about you or me. It’s about the matchless glory of the Creator of all things. We need to study it to learn the character of God, not to find our place in the story. Our only role is to love, live, and look like Jesus. We can’t do that unless we have knowledge of who Jesus is and how He lived.
If your time in prayer seems pointless, I encourage you to examine their content. Are they filled with your requests? If so, do your requests revolve around sharing the Gospel? You can’t pray incorrectly, but you can pray for incorrect things. Remember how Jesus taught us to pray? He prayed to the Father, “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9-13).
We spend almost all of our time praying for our will to be done. That’s not right, and it won’t be effective. Instead, we’ve got to pray for the will of God to be done. We’ve got to cry out for those who do not yet know Him, for those being persecuted for their faith, and for God’s peace and love to permeate the world.
We have too many who call themselves Christians and yet refuse to pursue a life of discipleship. If you love Jesus, you will do what He tells you to do (John 14:15). What did He tell us to do? Be ready for His return (Matt. 24:36-42). How do we get ready? We study His Word to learn His will and we pray with diligence for that will to be done here on earth. We love God and love people. All of them.
Brothers and sisters, these are dark days. Our time grows short to spread the truth of Jesus. And we are living as if tomorrow will come, just as it always has. Today we eat, drink, watch television, spend hours on social media, and devote the time and money entrusted to us to things that do not matter. Tomorrow we may die. What then will we have gained? What then will we say when Jesus asks how we spent our lives for Him?
People all over this world are dying without Jesus, and we are living like we don’t care. We must repent and change our focus. It is time for us to return with our whole hearts to our King and Savior.
God help us and God forgive us. Help us be intentional and sober in how we spend our days. Restore a right heart within us. Give us a hunger for Your Word and a thirst for Your presence. Help us study and pray and then give us the courage and wisdom to act. Teach us to walk in Your ways and don’t let our feet depart from them. Help us love, live, and look like You Jesus. Save us from our selfishness and lead us to Your truth and Your light. Save us Jesus, and use us to lead many more to You. You alone are worthy of our lives. You alone are God.