Caveat: What I am sharing below should be tempered with the wisdom shown in the linked blog above. Below shows practical ways to get past a HEART attitude. If your heart is in need of bootcamp, then by all means, read on. If your heart is right before the Lord, and you have a tendency toward self-induced guilt, please ignore my blog today. I don’t want to feed that tendency.
Spiritual Boot Camp
What kind of Christian are you? Are you a strong warrior for the Lord? Is your relationship with Him similar to the soldier? Can you stand strong and say “Yes Sir!” to each command that He gives? Do you know the ‘rules of conduct’ inside and out?
I realized that after being a Christian for almost eighteen years, I have quite a bit of growing to do. I realized that spiritual growth is similar to physical growth. You can have inches/knowledge out the ear but that does not automatically bring maturity. I desire a deep, close, mature relationship with the Lord. I desire to obey Him as swiftly as I did my earthly father.
I have many excuses for why I am so spiritually weak. I am a mother! I have nine children and I could be a grandmother in less than a year! I have low thyroid. I home school my children. I have a home business! I… I… I… I am pathetic. Do I really think that the Lord will look at those excuses or the myriad of others that I could come up with, and say “Oh, I’m sorry honey, you had a rough few years there. I understand why you neglected Me.” K
It is time that Christian women took seriously their Christian walk. We are rearing the next generation of warriors for Christ. We cannot overhaul our lives overnight. We will grow weary and discouraged. There will be dry times and dark times and we will want to give up. We can’t. It is wrong of us to easily quit this ‘good fight’ that we are supposed to be fighting. We need to finish the course, not dragging our feet and stumbling across the finish line, but with strength, and dignity, like an Olympic champion!
How well do you know the Word? Can you find what you are looking for in a timely manner? Can you Biblically support your doctrine? Do you spend time etching the Word on your heart? Do you immerse yourself in the Word? Is the Word ‘sweeter than honey’? Is the Bible the first book you pick up, the last book you pick up, or one of the books that you pick up?
Do you ‘pray without ceasing’? Do you pray at all? Do you pray a little or a lot? What is prayer? Why do we pray? What do we pray?
Memorization of the Word
Is the Word ‘hidden in your heart’? If you were stranded without your Bible, how much scripture could you share with those around you?
How many hymns do you read outside of church on Sunday morning? How often do you sing them outside of Sunday morning? Are you familiar with hymns that are almost like singing sermons? How often do you read the hymns that are unfamiliar to you?
There are so many disciplines in the Christian life but if you work hard at overcoming the natural laziness that we all tend to have for them, you will find that the discipline becomes a joy as well. What excuses do you hear yourself making for not ‘entering your closet’ on a regular basis? I came up with quite a list very quickly.
I am too tired when I get up.
This one has many possibilities.
I am too tired when the kids are in bed.
The house is too loud.
I cannot concentrate.
Would you let your children tell you that they can’t do their school/homework because they just can’t make themselves concentrate no matter what they do? Why do we treat God in less of a respectful manner than we expect our children to treat us?
My children keep interrupting.
This one is simple. Make it a cardinal sin to interrupt mommy while she is studying unless someone is gushing blood or losing their cookies. Discipline consistently and in a few days, you’ll be set.
I don’t understand what I’m reading.
Well, here is the good news. You don’t have to. The Lord says that His Word will not return void. YOU WILL get something out of it even if you don’t realize it. Try other versions if it does not violate your conscience. Keep a dictionary handy. Read it aloud and if necessary, write it down. In the end, the more familiar you are with the Word, the more you will understand it. Oh yeah, and if you’re reading Ezekiel as a baby Christian… stop. Pick up Mark or Acts or something.
It feels ‘fake’.
First. Feeling don’t make it so. Bad grammar I know, but it had to be said. Your feelings are only that, feelings. They are not necessarily real. Feelings have nothing to do with God’s will and our NEED for Him. Even if your feelings are real, and your time with the Lord is fake, it is still practice in reality. Eventually, it will be and feel sincere. Like anything, a new church, new job, new baby, new friendship… there will be an awkward period. This is normal, acceptable and you will find soon enough, that it turns into something beautiful.
I have so much to do!
You must be a very important person to have so much more important stuff than God and His Word. Will the Lord say, when you answer for the time you didn’t spend with Him… “Oh that is right… I gave you too full of a plate to be able to spend time with Me… I’m sorry.” Ahem.
I have so many kids and they are ever present.
Did God make a mistake in giving you those children? Did He truly give you more than you can handle? Where is that supported in the Word? God has given you EVERY resource that you need to do what HE wants of you each day. This includes time with Him. If your children are crowding out the Lord’s time in your life, they have an unhealthy position in your family. It is time to put them in their place. Use some of the previous ideas for how to keep them quiet and away from you and just DO it!
God feels so far away.
He’s not going to get any closer if you keep moving farther away from Him.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The truth is, He is not far away. You are. Draw closer and soon you will find that He was right there all along. Staying away from the Word and prayer is not the way to develop a closer walk with the Lord.
It never seems to help.
Operative word in that excuse is ‘seems’. It does help. The discipline helps, the Word becomes engrafted upon your soul, and you learn, no matter how slowly, to grow in wisdom. This one is based again on ‘feelings’. Do not let your feelings lie to you. THE WORD ALWAYS HELPS. PRAYER ALWAYS HELPS. NOW DO IT!
I feel unworthy.
Aha! For once, your feelings are right. You are unworthy. Praise the Lord; Jesus has created, from an unworthy lump of clay, a vessel for His use. You are in and of yourself, unworthy. In Christ, you are of great worth. You were bought, redeemed and are cherished. You were purchased with the blood of the One who DIED FOR YOU. To consider yourself unworthy, when you are covered by the blood of Christ, is a mockery of the Lord’s work on the cross. BECAUSE OF HIM, you are worth more than everything; in yourself, you are worthless trash. If you need to feel worthy, remember that you are worthy, worthy of hell! Praise the Lord you are saved from your worth into His worth.
Like anything worth doing, sometimes you just have to buck it up and do it. The rewards are immeasurable and the consequences for neglect are horrific. You CAN do this. You NEED to do this. Will you?