Daily devotions are great, but too many of us stop there. We think that we’ve set aside our “God time,” and that we can go on through the rest of our day not caring about Jesus. I find myself doing this sometimes, and while it may feel comfortable at the time, it will slowly but thoroughly destroy our relationship with our God, and likely lead us to neglect our daily time with Him. We must fight against this deadness of spirit with constant prayer, the overwhelming power of God’s Word, and spiritual alertness at all times.
I find it hard to live life aware of every moment, and I think we all tend to forget ourselves in the midst of life’s busyness. We eventually stop caring about our every move and just live. And that’s not bad, in a way. Being able to relax and not worry about everything that’s happening around us is a valuable skill. But that should not interfere with our ability to discern the right path to take in life. The line that we must walk between apathy and worry is alert spiritual-mindedness.
This is a mindset more than anything else. It’s the ability to know when temptations are present, and to resist them. It’s also the ability to know when opportunities for spreading the love and truth of Jesus are present, and to take them. When we understand these two components and put them into practice, it will have a profound impact on our effectiveness for Christ.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
These words of Jesus’ are spoken to the disciples on the night of His crucifixion, but they are relevant today for us as well. We must watch in every moment for temptation, because Satan and his workers will use every moment to their advantage, trying to turn us to the left or to the right. The other command is perhaps more important. We must pray that we may not enter into temptation, that God will help us to stand against the Devil and the lies he shows us day in and day out. Prayer is absolutely essential for any Christian’s life, and that is made clear once more by Jesus in this passage. The last part of the verse is a truth we must remember. Our spirit may indeed be willing, but our flesh is weak. We may feel like we could kick Satan’s butt after going to church camp or some other spiritual activity. But we must remember that when it comes down to real life, our flesh will fail us and we must ask God to give us His strength. We simply cannot serve God with our every moment unless we rely on Him.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
This is an astounding idea. Just think. Resisting Satan doesn’t just discourage him. It terrifies him. God working in us is a powerful tool against his schemes, and he knows it. When we have the wisdom and the reliance on God to resist Satan, he will run from us. He won’t just leave us alone or glare at us. He’ll run. That is power, and I say we should use that power against the father of lies.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Not only are we to keep a sharp eye out for temptation in every moment, but we must also look for the opportunities that God gives us to share His light with others. This is the mark of a true Christian. Love is what distinguishes us from all other religions. Our God is love, not just judgement or power. It is our responsibility to share that love with others. It can be as simple as nodding along while the weird kid everyone hates talks to you about his hobbies. It can be choosing to love our siblings instead of dismissing them. It can be sharing the Gospel with a co-worker, even if it gets a little awkward. These everyday mission fields are opportunities to be a light for Christ.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
That’s our ultimate goal: to give glory to God. All this seemingly tiresome work of avoiding temptations and actively serving others is to point to who God is. God is worthy of our hard work just as much as He’s worthy of our song. Let’s make the choice daily to give Him our best.
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14