We do not serve a surfaced God! We serve the God that deals wholly with us. Unfortunately, I see too many churches teaching the people of God skimpily instead of wholly. Why? It takes time, effort, sacrifice, starting small and perseverance: we will call these the avoided five.
The one thing you will hear from people today is they do not have enough time: time for family, time for their marriage, time for God and certainly no time to disciple (walk with a new believer) so they are equipped and able to live wholly before their God. We are a culture of quick fixes and immediate results. True discipleship is not a quick fix; it takes time for results to surface and eventually deepen the soul. The real problem is not so much that we don’t have time for others, is we don’t take time to disciple ourselves. What we pour into ourselves is what we will pour into others.
Just last night, I had the choice to watch T.V. or read for four hours. I chose the latter. I read from five different books including my Bible. (I’m not talking romance novels, here.) I read from various authors that would enrich my heart for God and my understanding of human development. As tempting as it was to watch mindless T. V., I am the better for resisting it; I am learning how to reach the heart of people for Christ, so that I am intentional and effective at God’s calling on my life.
Yes, indeed, we have very little time, so why is it that we waste so much of it on such frivolous activities that take us nowhere? Because it takes effort and sacrifice.
We live in a culture of comfort, self-absorption, and the easy track. People do work hard at their jobs. (some don’t but most do). They work so hard that they leave no room for other important areas of their life: family, marriage, discipleship and the people of God. These important areas get shelved…all in the claim “I am tired. I am too busy. I need to rest. I need to do something for myself.” What really needs to be done is weeding and balancing the work life, so that there is room for the whole of life. This takes sacrifice and a great deal of intentional effort.
As we must learn to be content in life, we also learn daily to weed out the unimportant and balance the important. These require a constant battle every day, because heeding the urgent and juggling the imbalance of life is a sin of our flesh. The battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities of the sinful heart. The one lie Satan will tell you is “You can do it all.” We all know this is not true, for if it were, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Amen? This battle is only won by seeking and chasing God’s character. To seek His heart, we must think small and endure with perseverance.
Jesus asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Luke 13:20). The kingdom of God is thorough. It takes perseverance to be thorough; it takes starting small before seeing fruit. Sometimes this fruit takes a lifetime. Are we willing to persevere for the sake of a few who need to learn how to walk with Jesus daily? Do we love this much? I mentioned before that churches fail at making disciples because they teach skimpily. I have seen too many church plants have one goal: grow. Now that seems like a good goal, right? No, it’s not. The better goal is to chase after God and teach others to do the same. If knowing God is our focus, then the church will grow, but it will only grow on God’s timetable, not man’s.
The avoided five are crucial elements that truly teach a church family to chase after the God they claim they love and help others do the same. We must learn these ever important actions so we function Biblically. If there was any fast route to take it is to obey in this area quickly! Obedience is immediate, but fruit takes time. I bet the woman’s bread was amazing, because she took the time to make it so.