Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 14, 2011

just fitting Him in?

It was a quick ending to a three-hour business discussion. However, the words that my friend conveyed were very meaningful. His adult life has been lived as a very successful pastor, but he shared with me how difficult it had become to continue the spiritual disciplines that launched his success. His words hit a nerve with me because I sometimes find it easier to live for God than to listen to Him. My pastor friend also handed me a groundbreaking book that emphasized a glaring need in the Christian world. Our quick discussion and the book have challenged my thinking over the last few days. My thoughts have landed with this conclusion; God has designed joy and power for Christ- followers, but few are enjoying it. Why?

It is safe for me to assume that you (like me) are very busy. There are probably times when you feel over-burdened with your list of obligations. They seem to come from every direction. You and I are expected to honor our families, give whole- hearted energy to jobs, and serve in our churches and other organizations. Then there are the added pressures to 21st century living such as returning emails, checking up on everyone through Facebook and spending way too much time on our addictive cell-phones.  Which also causes us to spend time texting, checking scores, using Google, adding new apps and to generally be dominated by technology. Oops, and if we have time, we try to fit God in!

None of us would be so bold or arrogant as to say, “and when I have time, I try to fit God in,” but that is exactly what we too often do. Just fitting Him in will never provide the joy and power for living that He has designed. Now, back to the book I mentioned. MOVE by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson is the result of a survey to 1,000 churches and 250,000 congregants. The findings were insightful and at the same time a bit alarming. One of the key points from the book was that, “Nothing has a greater impact on spiritual growth than reflection on Scripture.” Since I accept the above statement as true, you can understand my dismay at one of the benchmarks established in the survey.

“…the percentage of congregants who say they reflect on Scripture for meaning in their lives every day ranges from a low of 3 percent to a high of 42 percent. The average for all database churches is 21 percent…(quoted from MOVE)

If the statistics above are correct (and I believe they are), is it any one wonder that the joy and power for living provided in Christ are sadly missing in our churches? But for a moment, forget the percentages and think about your life. Is there a sense in your spirit that something is missing in your walk with Christ? Could it be that your obligations fill your schedule to the point that “fitting God in” is your standard?  If these questions reflect your current state, accept my challenge that “reflecting on Scripture for meaning every day” will change your life. Instead of just “fitting God in, make Him a priority”. Joy and power will come; I promise.

My pastor friend shared with me something I already knew: that our spiritual disciplines can become stale. And I can attest from my own life that “fitting God in” doesn’t provide the joy and power that I long to have. However, when my Lord is my priority and I spend time getting to know Him, things change. While the survey mentioned above alarms me, what will really sadden me is if you (my friend) live without the joy and power God designed for you to have. Make Him a priority today!

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