Thriving Day to Day…

I slept in too long today. I didn’t really need the sleep, either. I don’t think I fell asleep any later than maybe 12 or 1 this morning, so sleeping in until about 11:30 wasn’t necessary. I hate it when I do this because it leaves me to be lazy about everything. There were several books on my desk waiting for me to open them up, but I lacked the will to do it. And there are stories, blogs, and notes waiting to be written, but my mind simply doesn’t want to work.

I think there are many correlations between the physical state of being and the spiritual. Whenever I’m feeling physically lazy, I’m usually feeling spiritually lazy, too. I don’t pray as much, read my Bible as much, and I definitely don’t talk about God with much of an honest heart. When I left my house this afternoon to come here to Starbucks – basically my office – I was thinking about how I haven’t done much praying in the last couple of days. As I pulled out of my driveway, I realized that it’s partially because I’ve been hanging out with friends a lot, but it’s mostly because I’ve been spiritually lazy.

When I think of a solution to the problem, I immediately conclude that I should just read my Bible more. But I doubt that’s it. Reading the Bible is great, but if you’re mind, heart, and soul isn’t engaging with what you read, you probably aren’t getting very much out of it. At best you’ll strike a verse or two that sound great and might keep you from sinning for that day, but that’s not the point of being a Christian. Our lives are not about sin-management where if we keep ourselves “clean” from sinning, then we’re good to go. It’s about taking up our crosses and following Jesus wherever He leads us. It’s not about spiritually surviving; it’s about spiritually thriving.

To put it another way, I think it’s the difference between the movie extras – the actors who have no lines or no real contribution to the story – and the main characters – the actors whose roles change how the story ends. Committing your life to Jesus doesn’t mean rescheduling your week to include more Bible studies, prayer groups, and Bible seminars; it means seeking Jesus with your heart, receiving His truth from Scripture, and then doing something about it.

“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” – James 2:17.

Throughout history, there have been ordinary people doing extraordinary things not because of some ability they’ve helped themselves to develop, but because they encountered Jesus with their mind, heart, and soul and then did something about it. They took what they had been given and multiplied it for God’s sake. This probably meant that they didn’t sleep in, didn’t allow themselves to be lazy, and that they were disciplined in living by the Spirit. When I step back to view the grand scheme of things, when I look at the big picture of my life, I realize that I’m not lazy because I lack energy; I lack energy because I’m lazy.

Being lazy is an attitude, not a physical condition. Yes, one can be tired and physically exhausted, but when it comes to matters of the heart, matters of spirituality, it’s about how much effort you’re willing to put forth. If you aren’t willing to commit to something, that’s laziness, not fatigue. I would have to imagine that the ordinary men who have achieved great things were at some point exhausted, fatigued, and drained beyond belief. But that’s what made them great; they were still willing to push through their own fatigue.

This all makes my morning laziness seem very silly. Well, that’s because it is. Proverbs 6:10-11 and 24:33-34 say the exact same thing; “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” This is speaking on a basic, common-sense level; if you aren’t willing to get up and do something, you will be poor. Jesus ups the ante by saying, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me, daily.” Every day we must surrender our wants, our desires, our plans and embrace God. He’ll test us, He’ll push us to limits we didn’t know we had, but in the end, He’ll say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

As my first employer once told me when advising me how to do my job better, “You just gotta want it.”

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Jeremy

Cherokee / Whovian / Sherlockian / Aspiring Auror / Lover of Jesus, Scripture, and creativity / MATS Student at George Fox Seminary.

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