We show our maturity by acting according to what is right rather than by how we feel. What makes us happy is NOT a good gauge of mature action.
4 Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.
If, indeed, we “reap what we sow” (Galatians 6:7), then WHAT and WHEN we sow are very important. The best time to prepare for a crisis is BEFORE the crisis.
Today is likely to be a bad day for storms, so Robin and I are preparing the house for wind and hail; we are also preparing “go-bags” in the event of a tornado. These preparations cannot be made in a moment’s time. When the sirens blow, it’s too late to prepare; we need to grab what we have and go to a preselected place to wait out the storm.
Our lives are lived the same way. Learning to listen to the Spirit means that we must quit bowing down to how we feel and start paying attention to our spiritual lives. What REALLY matters in the long run? We forget that when we came to the LORD, we gave Him our lives and pledged to serve Him. We are His slaves. If this language bothers us, then we have a pride issue. Paul said it best,
Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching [of Christ as LORD] that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We start out well as we pledge our lives to Christ and live according to the Spirit. So, what happens to us to get us so far off track? Jesus shared a parable–and then explained it–that gives us a clue to our own tendencies:
Mark 4:18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
- The worries of this life: security, health, safety, advancement, peace, prestige–if not for ourselves, then for our children!
- The deceitfulness of wealth: the sacrifice of time for money, self-esteem for position, integrity for opportunity. We shoot ourselves in our spiritual foot!
- The desires for other things: there is a hidden treasure, a pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44-46), that we have the opportunity to possess, but it will cost us everything we have. Are we willing to “sell” all we own (and want) in order to gain this treasure? What IS this treasure?
Philippians 3:10 I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and fellowship in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me [this faith is based upon His promises].
Let’s quit fooling around and being choked by the cares and worries of this life and focus on that which will last: Our relationship with our LORD and our fellowship with other Christians. Let’s bring along as many as will come with us!