I have a sincere concern for us who profess to be Christians. Do we really want Christ, or do we just want the tangible things that we expect faith in Him to bring? There are many well-meaning Christians ( and some ill-meaning wolves, goats, tares, masquerading as believers) who, I believe, have a distorted view of what following Christ is all about. Self-esteem, self-help, and self-improvement is preached and promoted, but the life of following Christ requires self-denial. The Holy Spirit working on the inside of us is what causes the real transformation within, not something of our own power. Not too many of us, from what I see, even think about denying self. We get so caught up in the lusts and desires of the flesh and this world, and then even try to claim that we want it to the glory of God, when in fact, the depths of our motives are selfish. How much of what we pray for pertains to non-material things? We know we pray for more money, cars, houses, etc, and we pray when we’ve run out of all other options. But how often do we pray that God increases within us the fruit of His Spirit? (Galatians 5:22) How often do we pray for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom? How often do we study the Word and ask the Father to teach us more about Him? How often do we pray for the lost who don’t know Christ? How often do we pray for other people out there who are suffering? How often do we pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even those which we may not even know personally?
Many of our prayers are selfish and motivated by the wrong things. We seek physical, tangible evidence that God is working in our lives by what He gives us and how much He gives us, rather than the works that are wrought in and through us by His Holy Spirit. Where’s the desire to learn to live holy, acknowledging and repenting of our sins, and asking God to guide our steps. Where’s the desire to seek God’s will and let go of our own selfish wills? We need to be making God absolutely first in our lives and remembering that friendship with the world is enmity with God. We need to remember to take up our cross daily, crucifying our flesh, to follow Christ, and daily isn’t a one-time thing; it’s a lifestyle (Luke 9:23). We need to remember to share and stand firmly for the Gospel…the TRUE Gospel of our Lord and Savior. We need to remember those in need and stretch forth our hands to help others in the name of Christ. We need to stop worrying about what we want to get God to do for our own selves, and go humbly before our Heavenly Father seeking what He wants to do through us for His glory. We must refuse to seek our own glory and the glory of men, and seek to honor and glorify God. We are undeserving of any glory, and we are unfit to possess pride of ourselves, but we should be giving thanks, honor, and glory to our Father who is full of love, grace, and mercy in that He sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice to pay the debt we owed and to keep us from the punishment we rightfully deserved. If that isn’t humbling, I don’t know what is. If that doesn’t inspire awe, reverence, and brokenness, I don’t know what does.
We as Christians must get our focus back on Christ. We can’t let the cares of this world get us off course. Would we continue to follow Christ if the stakes were as high as what the apostles and many, many others in Christ have faced, which was REAL persecution and martyrdom for Christ? Do we really desire to forsake ALL to follow Christ? If not, He Himself said that we are not worthy to be His disciples. Does a man build a tower without first counting the cost, seeing if he has sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:26-35
Let us pray without ceasing…