I have thought about why many Christians including myself so often struggle in a lukewarm state of mind much more than we should. To say the least, there are several reasons but actually these are not considered justifiable excuses. I have regular conversations with my close friends about the spiritual life and one thing we all share in common is how difficult it is to stay motivated with our prayer life while maintaining our enthusiasm to resist temptation. I realize everyone’s schedule is filled with distractions and we are busy just trying to keep up with everything we need to do, but when it comes to God, it always comes down to priorities and what we love the most. Of course, we have the obvious enemy called the devil which we do not hesitate to blame for our failures, but pointing our finger and accusing anyone other than ourselves is not really taking personal responsibility for our actions. The truth is, at the end of the day, we do exactly what we want to do.
I recently wrote a short story called, “Living an illusion” that is about an average guy who lives a normal life and then discovers after he passes away that his ideas were not exactly lined up with the way God thinks. It’s a sobering consideration that emphasizes how we only have one existence and one chance to get it right. Once we cross over into the next life, there are no do-overs and no more opportunities. I encourage you to read the story on my website. This reminds me of the next reason why we have a hard time walking close to God and that is we are influenced by a rebellious nature. When we are born, we are blind to spiritual truth and do not have the ability to understand God’s word or the desire to seek after the knowledge and wisdom that we need. This is why we must be born-again so that we can be transformed into a new spirit and be renewed in our mind and conscience. We must have the correct receiver and be dialed to the precise channel in order for us to receive God’s signal.
I’m going to be completely honest, the Christian life is hard. With the two powerful forces that I’ve mentioned already, it’s no wonder why we have such a difficult time staying on the straight and narrow. This conflict is commonly referred to as spiritual warfare and I’m sure many of you will agree these battles are fierce and often. Yes, we can have the victory over sin but the idea of the Christian fighting in a literal war means we are an active soldier that is always on duty. If we believe our mission after we have accepted the gift of salvation is laying on the couch and eating ice cream, we can clearly see why we are always feeling like a punching bag. I realize it’s not popular but we’ve been called to pray, study, and fast so that we can build courage and discernment. If we are not equipped with our spiritual armor, using our sword and shield, filled with hope, and dedicated to interceding for others, how can we expect to be a successful warrior? Even more important than all the religious things we say or do is having a personal relationship with the one who gave his life for us.
Most people want just enough of God to save them but not to the point where it becomes uncomfortable or requires something from them. It’s much easier to wade in the water that’s only up to our ankles instead of jumping in over our head with total dedication and commitment to his will. We are first in line for his help and blessings but not really excited about words like sacrifice, perseverance, and accountability. So, how much of God do we want and how important is it to follow him? I’m reminded how the discipline of participating in sports is similar to the dedication and determination needed to be a serious and effective Christian. Champions work hard and have a vision of who and what they want to achieve which is another reason why most people are simply not interested. A truth seeker is listening, learning and focused on God’s voice and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their vision. Come to think of it, what is our spiritual vision?