I really enjoy sports! I mean real sports like hockey, baseball, football, and occasionally basketball. I follow my teams with great interest and passion. Our family has spent much time travelling to cities to see those teams in action. For us in Canada, Saturday night is hockey night, it is almost as important as going to church (notice the word “almost” lest you think I have really lost it!). But, to actually coach a team or develop a strategy for how to run the “power play” or to play “shorthanded”, would be next to impossible for me.
The same principle is true when it comes to living out our faith. To actively live out our faith requires us to change our point of view from a selfish “me-first” mentality to a God centered “others first” pattern of thinking. Here is the dichotomy we confront: in order for us to focus our attention on the needs and care of others, we must first make sure we take care of our spiritual walk. Confused? Jesus clearly declared to those who faithfully follow him,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
The night before he was to go to the cross to pay the penalty of our sins, he declared to his followers:
“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.” (John 13:34)
If you and I are going to be any good to those who we want to help, we must invest time in our relationship with God. We need to prioritize time in prayer, and reading the Word as we fellowship with the Lord. As I have grown in my Christian experience, I cannot tell you how vital this has been to me in times of doubt and decision. We must learn to be learners first, and a teachers second.
The truth of the matter is that we can only give to others what we ourselves already are experiencing and working through. Otherwise, the Christian life and experience becomes academic and cold. I am not saying that we all have to be graduates of Bible College or some other theological institution, not saying that at all! The Psalmist wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8). How dare he write that if had not first experienced that for himself! How dare we invite others to follow Christ if we ourselves have only read about it and not really experienced how good God is!
I continue to be a learner who still needs often to sit at the feet of the Saviour to listen to what he has to say. He gives me instructions as I read the Bible and seek to apply it to my daily life. I have not arrived yet but am in process moving forward. God uses people who are dependent on him today and seek to impact others with what the Lord is teaching.
Are you continuing to grow in your relationship with the Lord? Are you listening to what he has to say as you read the Word of God and get to know him more? If so, then you are a candidate to make a difference in the lives of others. You are a fellow traveler on the road to be all God has designed you to be. Keep moving ahead one step at a time!