Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

No More Procrastinating

Matthew 4:19-20   Approaching Peter and Andrew while they were fishing

“Jesus called out to them, ‘Come be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and went with Him. A little further up the shore He saw two brothers, James and John, sitting in their boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their nets. And He called out to them to come, too. They immediately followed Him, leaving the boat and their father behind” (NLT)

How often have you thought or said you would do something today, only to put it off ’til tomorrow. ‘I’m too busy now’, ‘I’ll worry about that some other time’, ‘Someone else can do that’… the list of excuses go on and on. God leads us to many forks on the paths of our lives, allowing us to choose to go with Him, or against Him. He teaches and refines our character and mindset so we can learn to make the decisions that conform to His will for us. However when His voice calls out to us, how often do we choose to ignore it? How often do we make excuses not to obey or respond to His call?

Procrastination has been an enemy of mine at times. I allow myself to get caught up in issues and excuses instead of making the active choice to faithfully obey God and boldly follow Him NOW! I lose sight of the bigger picture and the privileged, vital work God has for me to do and the person He would have me become. When Jesus called the disciples, did they make excuses not to follow straight away… no! They left what they were doing and trusted that Jesus knew what was best for them. Delayed obedience to God is disobedience. When we choose to put off responding to God now, we are choosing to disobey Him. We may try to cover up our disobedience with seemingly valid and noble excuses to ease the burden on our consciences, but in not following God straight away when He calls us, we are saying He is not faithful and doesn’t know what’s best for our lives. God is omniscient. He knows all the details of our lives. He knows when is the best time. He knows when we are ready. He knows our struggles. In refusing to not act on God’s calling immediately, we are saying He doesn’t know what’s best. We are saying we know better and would prefer to do it our way. Well, if we choose to do that, then we mustn’t expect to be blessed and walk closely with God. We are choosing to walk a path foreign to what God has for us, allowing our consciences to be deadened to His voice, and inevitably missing out on His riches and blessings. How tragic a life of missed opportunities is.

What’s causing you to ignore God’s calling on your life, leading you to disobeying Him? Are you afraid of not being ‘equipped’ to follow, what you might lose, or the struggles you may face? Are you using your family or the people around you as an excuse?

Obedience will be costly, but it will bring us a life of satisfaction, joy, peace and eternal significance (Matt 10:39)! We only need to look at Jesus’ life to see the ultimate cost of obedience and the resulting glory! How will we feel when we die and are asked by Jesus what we did with our lives? Will He say ‘well done good and faithful child’ or ‘why did you ignore all that I had for you to do?’ God created us to make a difference in this depraved world (Eph 2:10). Our earthly lives are precious and filled with God-given purpose. We only get one crack at it! We will only make a difference by responding to God in faith, trusting that He knows best, and knowing He will give us all we need to live for Him (Matt 6:32-33). We don’t know if ‘tomorrow’ will be an option, so let’s make the most of ‘today’ and respond to whom God has called us to become and the work He has for us to do!

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Questions for Bible Reading

Steve Farrar in his book “Point Man” says that reading the Bible is the equivalent of a soldier eating his rations.  The Bible is our spiritual food, and without it we become weak and easy prey for the enemy.

This month’s Briefing magazine (www.Matthiasmedia.com/Briefing) contains a series of questions to use when reading the Bible.  These come from the Cornerstone church in Kingston, south-west London.  Their church uses these questions when reading large slabs of the Bible, and they can be used individually as well.  They’re great questions and I hope they can be of use to you in your Bible reading.  Not all questions will apply to every passage.

  1. What strikes you? What questions does this passage raise?
  2. What dangers/ warnings/ sins are there? (1 Corinthians 10:11)
  3. What do you learn about God – Father/ Son/ Holy Spirit?
  4. How is Jesus previewed/ revealed? (Luke 24:27)
  5. How are you corrected and rebuked? (2 Timothy 3:16)
  6. How are you encouraged to endure? (Romans 15:4)
  7. What do you learn about doing works of service and building up the church? (Ephesians 4:11-13)
  8. What do you learn about loving God?
  9. What do you learn about loving your neighbour as yourself?
  10. How do you feel you need to change to live as a man/ woman of God?

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A Scriptural Formula For Holy Living

Aaron Armstrong, author of Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, posted this last week over at Blogging Theology. I found this personally helpful; perhaps you will also.

“In his book Living for God’s Glory, Joel Beeke offers several diagnostic questions based on 1 Corinthians that provide, as he calls it, a biblical formula for holy living before God and man. When contemplating a course of action, he suggests we test it with these questions: Continue reading

Sin in the Life of a Christian: Part IV – Judging other Christians

In the final instalment of this series I want to talk about how our view of sin affects how we view other Christians.

I have argued that sin is a disease (see part one of this series).  Sins, the wrong things we do, are the symptoms of the disease.  My disease is that my heart is utterly corrupt.  My symptoms are the wrong things my heart leads me to do.  As Christians we are forgiven our sins, but we are still sinful.

Focusing on the symptoms of sin, rather than the disease, will lead me towards legalism.  Christians have rightly understood the evils of alcohol, the dangers of smoking, the pitfalls inherent in our culture and society which is moving further and further away from the gospel.  There are dangers in our culture: in the movies we watch, the TV shows that we view, in the way that we dress, and so on.  A right concern about such things however has led at times to Christians making up rules that can become legalistic: for example, a woman must wear a dress, and not pants.  These rules fail in the end, because they treat the symptoms, and not the disease (cf Colossians 2:23).

The disease of sin is treated by preaching the gospel and teaching the word of God.  Rules merely treat the symptoms.  How does all this affect how I view other Christians? Continue reading