I’ve come to the realization that I need to lose 20 pounds. So I’ve started a “dieting” plan. I use that term loosely. Really, I’m just watching what I eat. And by watching, I mean … I watch with loving adoration the cake, parfait, and cookies I place into my mouth. And I watch with disdain and disgust the salads, veggies, and dieter’s foods that I also force down. Do I plan to lose weight? Absolutely! Have I actually been successful with that plan? Not so much. This surprises me because I’m also super active. I have a busy life with boys in middle school and high school. Since my kids participate in non-stop sports, I have to constantly chauffeur them around (along with occasional other smelly boys). I figure I must be burning calories alongside of them. Don’t I get credit for anything?? But I guess the bottom line is … I’m just a lazy dieter.
When I think about it, I’m also sometimes a lazy Christian. Ok, God is watching so to be honest, I’m more than sometimes a lazy Christian. I expect the benefits of a close, personal relationship with God – favor and fervor. But I’m not willing to put in the work. I know it and I hate that! I totally relate to Paul when he said:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15 NIV
Paul was conflicted, like me, with knowing better but not doing better. Argh! If we Know Better, we should Do Better. I preach that to my boys all the time: “Do the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it or it’s an inconvenience.” I know they probably think, “She’s got nerves! She needs to take her own advice!”
The bible says “faith without works is dead”. Your faith and walk are more than a matter of words or confessions. So just saying you believe (like putting a bumper sticker on the back of your car) is not really believing. It’s about action too. Jesus said:
“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:18-19 NIV
So only believing kinda lands you on the same playing field as demons. Not good.
He goes on to acknowledge Abraham (who was considered the father of faith):
“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:22 NIV
So the correct combination is faith + action. How much do I really believe? Do my actions back up my words?
I believe that the bible is the absolute, infallible Word of God but I don’t read and study everyday (and I inconsistently apply those principles to my life).
I believe in the power of prayer and yet I’m not interceding for those around me as often as I should.
I believe the power of grace and forgiveness and yet I am selfish and selective to whom I extend those gifts.
I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and yet I don’t allow Him to lead and guide my daily, hourly, minute by minute walk.
Am I really just a “time-card” Christian? I go to church, get my “timecard punched” and then spend the rest of the week doing me (clocked out)?
It’s hard to admit it but I fall short of the mark, a lot. The enemy is so crafty that if he keeps us distracted, we remain “time card” Christians – ineffective for God’s purpose and plan. Distant and aloof from the God who created us for Himself (Revelations 4:11)!
We have to get and keep the revelation that we are not here for ourselves. Holy Spirit, this is where I need your constant intervention!! God created us for a special purpose. The bible beautifully explains:
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:16-17 NIV
God has plans for us, good plans( Jeremiah 29:11)! I remember being in church once and the Pastor asked for everyone to start praying for a young man who was in a horrible car accident. The doctors had no idea whether he would pull through or not. As I began praying, I heard God say, “Keep praying, I need intercessors to intervene.” I marveled at how God would leave praying to fickle humans. But that’s his process or system. We are so crucial to each other. We often need the action of others to help us along!
Don Piper, author and “survivor” of 90 Minutes in Heaven credits his trip from death back to life to the prayers of the faithful. At one point after being in constant, non-stop pain, he told a friend: “I’ve got nothing left. I can’t fight anymore.” His friend replied, “You don’t need to do anything. You just lay there. We’ll take it from here.” And that’s when the prayers of the righteous availed much in his life.
Remember, Jesus said we’re all a part of the body. Each one of us is a different but necessary part. So to function, we need each other. We need to take our duty of interceding, encouraging, teaching, sharing salvation, whatever our calling – seriously! It’s not a suggestion or option for us kingdom children. It’s our responsibility! There are people out there who desperately need you! A kind word, a pat on the back, a strong shoulder for someone to place their head, or just a silent walk alongside a hurting or grieving individual can radically change someone’s life! We have an obligation towards all of God’s creation and our heavenly siblings to move in the gifts that God has bestowed upon us. To make a difference in someone’s life here on earth. By doing so, we’re doing God’s work but also reaping a bountiful reward in the process:
“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:8-9 NIV