Inside: As we spend time with the Lord and continue to bring ourselves before Him, He makes us more like Jesus.
How many times have you started a project and didn’t finish it? A book and only read part of it? A bible reading plan and just stopped in the middle of it? What about a weight loss plan? Healthy eating habits? I have done all of the above (and lots more), and I’ve learned one simple thing: you can pick right back off where you stopped and start again.
We can get caught up in perfectionism and not move forward, thinking we’ve failed if we’ve not accomplished a task perfectly or entirely.
If you desire to do something and know it’s important in your walk with the Lord, I encourage you to pick up where you left off and begin again. You can pick up wherever you left off on your Bible reading plan immediately. Don’t try to catch up with all the past days you missed; begin with today’s reading and keep moving forward. Don’t give up but keep pressing forward.
If you haven’t been spending time with the Lord in prayer, pause from reading this article and seek Him at this very moment. In Christ, we are His children, and our loving Heavenly Father delights in hearing from us.
Don’t beat yourself up or fall into a guilt trap but repent if you need to and seek His forgiveness, and be reminded His mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness when ours is so lacking. We serve a great God, and as His adopted children, He is always there for us. He never leaves or forsakes us.
We all desire to mature spiritually, and one of the ways we grow in godliness as believers is by the means of grace the Lord has appointed. It is very simply the spiritual disciplines of time in the Word, prayer, and fellowship. These are sweet gifts from the Lord to grow us in godliness and increase our joy in Jesus.
Learning & Growing Day by Day:
The apostle Paul is an example of a saint who kept pressing forward when times were hard. I’m not even talking about hard times in this article but just moments when life seems to get in the way of our time with the Lord. We can too easily fall into a pattern of neglecting time in the Word, thinking other things are more important when time in the Word should be the most important task on our list. It sets the tone for the rest of our day.
Back to Paul and specifically the book of Philippians, the epistle of joy written from a prison cell is where our beloved apostle penned the words of Philippians 3:14:
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul had walked with the Lord for many years and made it clear to the Philippians (and us) that he had not arrived. He continued to keep pressing on. His walk with the Lord was day-by-day, desiring to know more and more about His Lord. He didn’t coast into Christlikeness or tread water but was always learning and growing and desiring to become more and more like His Savior.
Somebody once said: The Christian walk is much like riding a bicycle; we either move forward or fall off. We will fall off at times, but we need to keep getting back on and moving forward.
So next time you find yourself neglecting time in the Word or prayer, take a moment to seek the Lord in prayer, ask for His help, and then determine what action steps you will take to prioritize time with Him in your day. Get back on and keep moving forward.
Just a note to be reminded: Our favor with God isn’t found by reading our Bibles or praying, but our favor with God is found only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are justified by His grace by repenting of our sins and putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. If you are in Christ, you already have His favor.
Once in Christ, God has put His Spirit within us, and the desire to spend time with Him, getting to know more about Him through His Word and in prayer, all is a gift of His grace. God has given us the hunger, but we must determine when and how we will do it.
As we spend time with the Lord and continue to bring ourselves before Him, He makes us more like Jesus.
Keep Pressing Forward:
So today is a new day. If you can’t remember the last time you read your Bible or spent time in prayer with the Lord, be reminded and encouraged of all the benefits of God’s Word from Psalm 19:7-11 (see below) and take the time to sit before the Lord today. Don’t wait until tomorrow.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. ~ Psalm 19:7-11
God’s Word is not a burden but the sweetest blessing. It revives our souls and causes our hearts to rejoice. It endures forever and enlightens our eyes. It’s sweeter than honey, and there is great reward in keeping His Word. It is our greatest treasure. May we not neglect this precious gift from the Lord to us.
Spend time with the Lord today in His Word and prayer.