True Christianity is an all out commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ! “If any man comes after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 6:24) To fully understand the implications of this verse one need simply ask, “What characterized the life of the Lord Jesus?” It was a life of total obedience to the will of God. Jesus kept the Everlasting Covenant. It was a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a life of unselfish service for others. It was a life of patience and long-suffering in the face of horrible wrongs. It was a life of diligence, devotion, self control, meekness, kindness, faithfulness and dedication. It was a life of prayer!
In order to be one of His disciples, we must walk as He walked. We absolutely must exhibit the fruit of Christ’s likeness in our lives (John 15:8). In John 8:31 we are given a disciple’s key to making this a reality in our lives. “If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” For real discipleship there must be continuance. It is relatively easy to start well, to burst forth in a blaze of glory, but the test of reality is endurance to the end. (Matthew 24:5)
Many start well in the Christian race of life, but few retain their first love and soon fall by the wayside, not quitting, but not fully competing and finishing well. Our mortal enemy Satan the Devil has a well developed plan he carries out with a vengeance to make us fail. One of Satan’s favorite tools is discouragement and disillusionment. He knows if he can discourage and disillusion us and overwhelm us with feelings of inferiority, bitterness, guilt, resentment and helplessness, you and I might be inclined to give up and lay aside our commitment to Jesus Christ and the perfect will he has for our lives. Satan might even trick us into allowing a little leaven (sin) to stay in our heart and keep us Luke warm.
Far too many Christians ride the fence spiritually and wonder why they suffer. They want to live for Christ, but are unwilling to pay the price! Many straddle the fence, with one foot in the world and the other in the Kingdom of God, and they wonder why true peace and contentment elude them. Did not Jesus himself condemn this type of behavior in Revelation 3:16? “So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew (vomit) thee out of my mouth.”
There is simply no place for compromise or half heartedness among the Very Elect of God. On this point the Bible is very clear. The Christian life is intended to be one of continuous growth. Not simply accumulation of knowledge, but the development of Christ likeness in our character as we behold in the word of God, the glory of the Lord. We are transformed as we meditate on Him as seen in the scriptures.
The apostle Paul perfectly stated the attitude we must have as a follower of Jesus Christ in Philippians 3:12-14. He never ever was content to float along happy with where he was at. Instead he forgot the past and focused on the glorious future awaiting those who are called chosen and faithful. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
You and I have been called to persevere. Each of us has been given a race to run, and a will of God to do. We are going to encounter innumerable obstacles and occasions for discouragement. To run the race and finish well we must develop perseverance! God the Father and His son Jesus Christ want us to finish well. To make this happen we must with patient endurance persist in doing His will whatever obstacles we may face.
The life of Jesus offers us an example of how to accomplish all that God wants us to and never give up. One of the keys is contained in the book of Mark. Following Mark’s account of Jesus’ very busy day, Mark observes that in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there prayed Mark 1:35. Here is the secret of Jesus’ life and work for God: He prayerfully waited for His Father’s instructions and for the strength to follow them. Can we do any less? Do you make it a habit to spend quality time in prayer each day?
To maintain our First Love dedication our daily goal should be to schedule and keep an appointment with our Heavenly Father to pray and fellowship as we meditate upon His word. Spiritual strength to endure can and will be ours if we will make daily fervent prayer and feeding upon God’s word our # one priority. It all seems simple enough, but somehow Satan gets us distracted into doing everything but seeking God first each day. Take a few minutes today to evaluate your use of the time God has given you. Examine yourself and make sure you will be ready to stand before the Son of Man on that day when He returns.
Is prayer the first thing on your priority list each day? How much time and effort do you devote to prayer?
The Bible says Watch because it is very easy to drift into a pattern of living where we relegate the precious privilege of prayer to a secondary or nonexistent practice in our lives.
Jesus exhorted us in Matthew 26:41, to “Watch and pray that you don’t enter into temptation; The Spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.”
It is a daily spiritual battle to overcome our weakness of the flesh, our laziness in neglecting our prayer life. Satan will fight you tooth and nail to keep you from praying with intensity and diligence. We can overcome our weakness in any area through believing prayer. We can fight with all our spiritual strength and develop new power and discipline in prayer, if we will devote special time to it.
What is the place of prayer in your life? What prominence do you give it in your list of daily activities? How many believers ever stop to consider that their prayer life is a key indicator of the condition of their soul. Without a healthy vibrant prayer life spiritual growth is impossible! Prayer is critical to a Christian’s growth and progress toward spiritual maturity.
Fervent prayer is the key that unlocks all the blessings—all the tremendous riches of God’s infinite grace and power. All of heavens power is made available to us in prayer.
In James 5:16 the promise is made that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man will accomplish much!
We have been given incredible promises by Almighty God that if we will pray according to His will, He will answer and show us great and mighty things that will be beyond our comprehension and greatest expectations!
Brethren, Prayer has as many possibilities today as at any time in history, when we meet the conditions for answered prayer.
God has not changed—He still promises all true believers, “Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things like you have never seen before.
The problem today is not our Fathers willingness to answer prayer, NO the problem is that many do not have the time or energy to devote to prayer. Determine in your heart to be more diligent than ever in making prayer a daily priority!
There is a place where you can touch the eyes
Of blind men to instant perfect sight;
There is a place where you can say “arise!”
To dying captives, bound in chains of night.
There is a place where you can reach the store
Of hoarded gold and free it for the Lord;
There is a place upon some distant shore
Where you can send the worker and the word;
There is a place where Heavens resistant power
Responsive moves to your insistent plea;
There is a place— a silent trysting hour—
Where God himself descends and fights for thee.
Where is that Secret Place? Do you ask where?
O Soul, it is the Secret Place of Prayer!!
II Corinthians 13: 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own life. II Corinthians 5:10 For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much!