Holding Onto Our Spiritual Strength
At times the human mind questions the value of continuous prayer, devotion, and worship. For many Christians these powerful activities, at one time or another, often become commonplace and mundane over the years. For far too many, what they once did out of love they now do out of habit. And after awhile, the value of the habit is not even clearly seen.
The challenge for the Christian is not to give up what may have become a mundane task, but rather to relearn the value of these activities and thereby become reenergized and passionate about them again. After all, familiarity with these activities has not invalidated their power; it has only separated us from their power.
In 1 Timothy 6:11-12, Paul points out to a young minister named Timothy several pitfalls to avoid and actions to take in keeping his life pleasing to the Lord. Paul writes, "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." NIV
Paul is encouraging Timothy—as well as you and me— to pursue only those things that are pleasing to God, the first of which is a godly manner of living. In order to do this we must first pursue a life of faith in God. Paul had just warned Timothy in verse 10, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." NIV
His point was not that everything of this world is evil, but rather that having one's faith in the systems and schemes of human society will leave us empty in the end. However, it is not so with faith in God. Let the cynics say what they will about religion; I have been at the bedside of the dying too often to doubt the importance of knowing God when all natural means of help have failed. Pursuing a life that can endure the failures of material comforts will be found to yield much greater dividends than all of humanity's carnal pursuits combined.
This passage of scripture also encourages us to be diligent in our commitment to hold on to our faith. I would like to tell you that having faith will only get easier and that the life of faith will only get smoother, but I cannot. The truth is that those of us who will follow Christ are literally fighting for our Christian faith. There are many enemies of our faith. Sometimes the enemies of the faith are those who would teach heresy or seek to attack our choice to believe. But sometimes the enemies of the faith can be found much closer to home, such as complacency, sin, doubt, and fear in our own hearts.
Yet, if we will take hold of the eternal life that has been promised to those who will follow Jesus Christ we will find that it will become a catalyst for our faith in Christ. God's promise of everlasting life is the destiny of all who will follow Christ and submit the standards and decisions of their life to the measurement of His will.
Through His Word we know what God expects of us. We know what we must do. But do we know that God can and will give us the strength and passion for the commitment? Our assurance is that if we are willing to take the necessary actions to renew our commitment to Him, then God will provide the renewed freshness to our experience that we seek.