When the people of Israel were finally at the edge of the Promised Land (Numbers 13), they had to come to grips with a difficult truth: they were still going to have to fight to take it. The fact that it was theirs was as sure as the all-conquering God who had promised it to them, but it was still going to involve struggle. War. Pain. Death. It was already theirs, but it was not yet in their grasp.
This tension remains today. For those who are in Christ, we have also been promised a land, but it is not of this world. The kingdom of God is ours, but we still have to fight for it. There is a time coming, free from all stress and striving, but it is not yet here. Right now, we must always be ready to fight. Even to die. Daily.
For me, carving out time every day to spend in the presence of my Father is a battle. I know believers of all ages, men and women, in the ministry and out, weathered and brand new, who can relate. It’s never been easy, for any of us, but it’s always been worth it. This pandemic is a curse in so many ways, but, as with almost anything our God does, it can also be a blessing. It has reminded me of how much I need to take up my sword and wage the daily war of sin in my own heart. Slowing down has showed me the things that should not slow down.
I want to challenge you to evaluate the state of this primary battle in your own life. Whether you need to sacrifice lesser priorities to meet with God in the morning, afternoon or midnight hour. You do need to be meeting with Him. Strap on your armor, sharpen your sword and get after it. We don’t have a single day to lose.
I also want to encourage you. When you struggle at this, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. No one naturally gravitates toward an open Bible, careful soul-searching and deep conversation with God. No one. But everyone who has claimed Christ has the capacity for these things – and through them so much more! Perfection is not the goal, the struggle is. This side of heaven, it’s how we’re called to engage.
Here are a few resources that have helped me in my daily battle (outside of the Bible and a good reading plan). I hope they’ll prove helpful to you.
The best answer I know to what it means to “preach the gospel to yourself.” A multi-faceted, poetic and thoroughly biblical approach to all that the gospel message teaches us.
A collection of Puritan prayers that will deepen and broaden your language of praise, confession and need.
A classic work expounding Romans 6 and the sheer brutality that sin-killing deserves. A game-changer in my spiritual walk.
A 31 day walk through John 15 and the core concept of “abiding,” that is, dwelling unceasingly with Christ. Simple yet profound, you cannot walk away the same.