Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Living What We Already Know

I’m reading the book, Loving Well by William P. Smith, in which the author talks about how, even after having already written a booklet entitled, How Do I Stop Losing It with My Kids?, he indeed continued to “lose it” with his kids. This was balm to my sorrowful heart that regrets the fact that I could spend an hour or more in devotions, Bible reading and prayer with God and then five minutes later engage in a tantrum with my kids or become impatient with them.

Peter Furler, when he was lead singer of the Newsboys, sang,  “I dunno how I can end a prayer, then turn on a friend.”

As comforting as it is to hear other people confess and write about how they, too, forget Scripture’s precepts the minute life or people make demands, we can’t stop there (as I wrote in a recent blog post, we are not to wallow in our sin, but to be those who overcome sin). We have to go further. And the only way to exit the roundabout of “read Scripture, pray, then yell-at-the-kids, curse the boss, take everything personal, etc. etc.” is to stop it. We have to start living what we already know.

I live across the street from a workout facility and I am amazed at how, already at 4:30 am, a few cars trickle into the parking lot. These early birds are the folks who don’t just read exercise and fitness books, buy Adidas and talk about ten-minute abs, they follow through and actually exercise! They put on the Adidas, prioritize getting themselves to the fitness center and do the ten-minute ab routine.

The funny thing is, I know Christians who have no problem running marathons or 10K’s or attending Spinning classes religiously yet struggle to follow through on their heart and mind exercises of doing what Scripture says! I used to be one of them. Sixty miles on a bike? Piece of cake! Running outdoors in January? No problem! Holding my tongue? Fail. Thinking more highly of others than myself? Flunk.

The point is, we know how to follow through in other parts of our lives. So why not with Scripture? If follow-through in other parts of our lives is taking time and effort away from prioritizing the Biblical growth of our hearts and minds, then perhaps we need to lower the priorities in other areas and put the intentional practice of Christ’s commands first.

© Barb Harwood

“because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5a

“encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 1:12

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:19-25

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