In every season, the Lord desires my active and ongoing conformity with Christ. In 2018, the Spirit will labor to bring out the fruit of God’s justification in my character and life with others (Galatians 5:22-23). Remembering John 17:17, below are a few ways I hope to cooperate with the Spirit’s work in me this year.
Do you ever feel that you’re just too busy for the Bible? There’s so much clamouring for your attention, regardless of whatever stage of life you’re at. Let’s not even speak of the constant drip of media and entertainment distractions; it’s almost unbelievable how addictive they are becoming!The reality of this frenzied busyness, which frankly, most of us are caught up in, is that The Bible is in danger of remaining a closed book, even to us Christians!
It was a Tuesday like most others: playground time with my young daughters. Who would have guessed that, amidst the gigging screams of my girls, I would find myself defending the deity of Christ in conversation with another mom who was a Black Hebrew Israelite? A deep theological debate—covering the Trinity, substitutionary atonement, and Pan-Africanism—hadn’t been on my radar as we headed to the playground. And yet, there I was, chatting with a relatively young mother of two in her attempt to proselytize.
Today is my birthday. I’m 35. I woke up this morning with a blog post on my mind; not a new one to write but one written four years ago on my 31st birthday. That post is below. I read it this morning and it encouraged me to pray for the grace to persevere. I want to run as though to win the prize...I don't want to waste my life (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Sisters, I don’t speak here of petty surface glances of the Word; just enough to make you feel good about your Christianity. I speak of women who understand that they are commanded to present themselves to God as approved and unashamed workers, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Believing this, they read. They read carefully and deeply. They string pieces together until they interpret the Bible by the Bible. They knit sections together to unfold the big picture of the gospel.
My Dear Wormwood,
You report in your last letter that your patient intends to purchase a “good study bible” with the determination to begin regular readings in the New Year. My dear nephew, calm yourself, as you seem rather troubled by this decision. If well managed, there is no cause for concern. You fail to remember the countless patients, firmly in the grip of Our Father Below, who own multiple copies of that dreadful Ancient Book!
My prayer today then is to have an attitude like that of Calvin’s – a disposition that fears a wasted life over death. I want to do well for the Lord – an alert and useful servant who keeps a lamp burning and whose Master finds her dressed in the hour of His need (Luke 12:35-40). My prayer is that my heart would not be captured by dissipation, distractions, and the cares of life but would be consumed by a love for Christ (Luke 21:34). How ever many years there might be for me, I want to live each one jealously for His glory.
I believed myself a Christian long before I was. I grew up attending church, affirming the existence of God, and even praying to the Lord Jesus but there was nothing much beyond this. I had no affection for Christ: no true worship; no fervency in prayer; no hunger for His Word. Was I wild and unruly? Not at all. I was motivated to do well in school and so made straight A’s. I was eager to please at home and so assisted in the care of younger siblings. I enjoyed simple contemplation and so read volumes of Jane Austen in quiet corners. I was even made an example by some as a good girl – but saved I was not.
We have all tasted temptation. For the Christian, temptation is both a pre- and post-regeneration reality. James, writing to Jewish believers, states: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
I begin this post with a little self-disclosure: I don’t know how to run! What do I mean? Let’s just say, if you saw me running, you would understand perfectly well what I mean. To be specific, I was never taught (or perhaps I failed to learn) how to properly bend my knees when running. The result is a stride that slightly resembles a duck.