If you expect this conversation to be about hardships and adversity, you are partly right. We have already discussed this.
It is important to know that you have tools available to help you navigate difficult and devastating life circumstances. I hope you will remember the three promises God makes about problems and hardships: 1) They are normal and predictable, 2) God clearly promises to give us everything we need to get through hard times, and 3 ) He promised to have the “last word” in all of our struggles, and ultimately make them work for our good in one way or another.
I want to talk with you today about what I think could be an even more difficult struggle than going through difficult circumstances in our lives. I wonder if God’s greatest desire for us, a moment-to-moment relationship, walking / talking with us, might be our greatest challenge.
It’s hard for me to understand why something that is so beneficial to me is so difficult to establish and maintain. Think about it.
If you are a follower of Jesus, at some point in your relationship with Him you have experienced comfort, confidence, peace, joy, contentment, clear direction, and clear recognition of His voice. Why would we want to abandon this?
Isn’t it interesting that everything God asks of us is actually designed to benefit us? Even his desire for closeness and intimacy with us is designed for our good.
Make no mistake, God loves and appreciates our presence with Him. But it seems to be in his nature to only ask us for things that will eventually come back and meet certain needs that we have.
It is so easy to lose the intentional focus that seems to be necessary for this great opportunity. We have so many responsibilities and interests that often distract us from intimate moments with anyone, including God.
Some use the phrase “tyranny of urgency” to describe how busy occupation and emergencies apparent in our circumstances demand so much of our time and emotional energy that we become unable to have time in quantity or time. quality in any of our relationships. Time spent in relationship with others, including God, was supposed to have two components: quantity and quality.
You might be asking yourself the question, “Why are good habits so hard to develop and bad habits so easy to develop?” I’m not sure I know the answer to this question. I know I never had to be intentional and work hard to develop a bad habit.
If you decide to face and take on life’s biggest yet most rewarding challenge, you will have to be intentional and you will have to work at it. My understanding of one of the benefits of becoming a disciple of Jesus is that He promised to work from within us and to help us with intention and strength.
Praying throughout the day as we wake up, prepare and carry on with our daily responsibilities, and finish our day at home in bed can be done. Have our Bibles available throughout the day along with our other books, diaries, etc. is possible.
There are even free Bible programs that you can download to your phone or laptop if that’s more convenient for you. Listening to Christian music while we are driving or when we are sitting somewhere listening to our iPods or mp3 players is doable. Going out with other disciples of Jesus is a choice.
Are you up to the challenge?