Faithful Follower or Fair-Weathered Fan?

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Like a spiritual father that he was, Paul exhorts his spiritual children in Corinth to not be swishy washy in their walk. We read his words in 1 Cor 15:58 where he says, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. As he closed this first letter he seemed to be giving them a last nugget of encouragement to keep them from vacillating in their commitment to following Christ.

Some years back when our hometown team was on the verge of going to the World Series, which they did eventually clinched. People came out of the woodwork and jumped on the bandwagon of being a fan. Everyone was buying t-shirts, banners and talking the talk at the water fountain and coffee counter. Everyone seemed to be diehard committed fans all of a sudden. They call these type fans, fare-weathered fans, because they are only committed to the team when it is easy and convenient.

I think many believers fall in this same type category of commitment in their walk with the Lord. You might call them fare weathered Christians. They are committed to Christ and His teachings as long as there aren’t any storms of life or a losing season in their daily disciplines. On the other side of the coin when they are in the midst of over flowing blessings it is easy to jump on the bandwagon of commitment. Yet, Paul knew that the believer was called to stand firm in their faith no matter what comes their way. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. Therefore, Paul also exhorts the believers in 1 Cor 9:24-26 to be like


   Only being committed when it is easy and convenient is being a fare-weathered fan for Christ


the runner in a race that runs to win the race not just to be strolling down the track of life and also to those believers in Ephesus He says, “having done all to stand therefore stand”. (Eph. 6:12) Commitment without endurance is just a desire that never manifests into reality. The followers of Christ must live a lifestyle committed to being obedience to Christ rather than just being hinged with some sort of sacrifice. What I am trying to say is there must be more than just sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22-23) Commitment is a must for every believer!

In Ps. 132 we read the psalmists conversation with the Lord, where he prayed that God would remember David’s commitment to Him. From the sheep fields to the Kingship it seems that this determined commitment that was birthed in him, grew more and more over time. The Spirit describes his determination and intensity in Acts 13:22, saying, “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will”. The Psalmist briefly reminds God of David’s commitment in Ps 132:2-5 which says, “How he … vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes … Until I find a place for the Lord”. David never strayed from this passionate commitment to God, in fact if anything, it increased. Scripture reveals how David wasn’t perfect, but his heart was moved for God and the more he leaned into intimacy with Jesus, I believe God kept pouring His heart into him. In a sense, you could say God was stoking the fire of heaven in David’s heart over the years.

After your gone, how will people remember your commitment to God? What will be written on your headstone? Have you given Him opportunity to increase your burning passion to the point that your commitment is at the same intensity as David?

 

 

 

 

 

I am Not Letting Go!

holding onOne of my favorite stories is found in Matthew 15:22-28, where we see a woman from Canaan come to Jesus. You could say she was from the other side of the tracks. Yet, I believe she came to the one person who she knew could help her daughter. In Mark’s gospel he records this same story in chapter 7:25. It says that she “Heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet.” What did she hear? By her actions I believe she heard He was a merciful loving miracle worker; therefore she was persistent in getting His attention. She believed He was good and just, so she honored and worshipped Him as Lord. As if there was no other hope, this gentile woman cried out to Jesus for divine mercy, that her daughter would be delivered from the enemy’s grip.

The response she received could have easily discourage and offend her, causing her to give up. First, Jesus kept silent and did not answer. Most people hate the silent treatment—it deeply frustrates them. I think the majority of us in this situation would have stomped off offended. Right?

Secondly, Jesus says in a roundabout way that the miracle she desired was not for her. And as if that was not devastating enough He tells her that the promises were not for her. Then, He calls her a dog (Mk. 7:27)! But, instead of getting bitter and offended, this woman replies with the most astounding words. “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table,”(Mk. 7:28). She declares that the crumbs from the Master’s table are good enough for her situation. In essence, she says it only takes one crumb from the Master to solve her need.


                        Persistence and commitment in prayer will always bring a fruitful and rewarding result.   (Tweet)


            In all this, she is worshipping Him, undistracted by her feelings or her pride. Her persistence reveals the faith within her. I believe she had a glimpse of His heartbeat, therefore, she pressed in towards Him. In her time of great need, her request seemed to be long in coming, but she wouldn’t stop. Her faith was being purified and perfected to the point that Jesus announced that she had great faith! The result was her daughter was healed that very instant.

            As we press into His presence concerning His promises, we can be faced with elements that can cause us to either back down or press in harder. Sometimes, God is silent and at other times He deliberately offends our minds to reveal what’s in our hearts and to see if we are serious about seeking Him. If we tenaciously press in and not let go of His promises we will see them manifest. Too often, when our requests are slow to be answered we are offended and gripped with bitterness towards God. The bottom line is that we don’t understand God’s workings and therefore we are robbed many times of God’s miracles. We might not understand God’s ways, but He is always working in us both to will and to do for His pleasure. The same was true in this woman’s situation. He is always working in us for His glory.


     If we tenaciously press in and not let go of His promises we will see them manifest. (Tweet)


It’s God’s heart for us to walk in His purposes and blessings. However, there are often delays in what we ask because He desires to work in us things that will enable us to see the manifestation of His promises. When we understand these principles, then we will have a confidence and a persistence that will enable us to hold on to His promises until we see their fulfillment.

I Want It Now!

200157668-001A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything, brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit. Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way. The scriptures teach us in Colossians 4:2, “to continue earnestly in prayer,” and in Romans 12:12, it says “continuing steadfastly in prayer.”  We are exhorted to be persistent in our prayer life.

Jesus shares a parable in Luke 18:1-8, driving home the point of persistent prayer. It says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily…”

                        A society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything,                                   brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit.    (tweet)

            When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be praying in unbelief. That’s totally contrary to scripture! The continual knocking or coming to the judge brought the widow’s answer. The Bible does say in James 1:6-8, that we must have faith when we pray, but being continuously in prayer doesn’t mean you have unbelief. On the contrary, I think it indicates that you do have faith in God. Your action of continual asking shows you believe He will answer.

I like what Marilyn Hickey says, “Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.” If you think about the farmer’s process, he plants his seed then waters it day after day until he sees a sprout breaking through the soil. The farmer is like the diligent believer who plants his seed and then through continual prayers of faith waters it until the answer breaks through and comes to pass. Keeping with this analogy, if praying continually is wrong then the farmer watering his seed daily would also be wrong.

                    Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving,                          unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way     (Tweet)

            Let’s look at I Kings 18:41-45. We see Elijah telling Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of an abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. That’s when this story gets very interesting. After Elijah prayed, he sent his servant to look for rain clouds. Six times his servant checked and didn’t see anything, Elijah continued in prayer. The scriptures say, “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ The downpour from that small cloud broke three and a half years of drought. This all happened because Elijah wouldn’t quit praying—he had faith to be steadfast in prayer.

            Living a life of prayer will always be a life of adventure and power. Ephesians 6:18 tells us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  In other words be tenacious and persistent in prayer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the answer to your prayers immediately. Keep knocking on Heaven’s door.