(This was supposed to be Part II in a two part post. I figured I could handle two parts, unlike my failed attempt to summarize my trip to Israel. But I’ve realized that there is just too much to condense into two parts! So bear with me!)
As I said in the first post, anything worth having is worth working for, and I don’t know of anything that is more worthy of my time than growing closer to Jesus. And, again, let me clarify that work is in no way shape or form required for salvation! Praise God, salvation is a gift from God and has nothing to do with my own pitiful works! Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid the debt of my sin, and I can freely receive forgiveness from Him.
But the relationship I have with Jesus, just like any relationship I have with anyone else, requires effort. If I want to truly know my wife, I have to spend time with my wife. I have to talk to her, watch her, listen to her (probably should be first, eh?). Point is, it takes my doing something, being active. Why do we think our relationship with Christ is any different? Why do we seem to think that an hour on Sunday, coupled with 7 prayers over dinner during the week constitutes a relationship? Would your wife or husband count that as “quality time?” Would you?
And we covered in the last post how much time we spend seeking after things that don’t matter. Now, there is MUCH that we can seek after that is not sinful in and of itself. Don’t get me wrong on that! I like to watch sports and I like to watch sitcoms with my wife. I’m not a monk. But folks, doesn’t the One Who died to save your soul deserve more than just a passing glance? And if He means everything to you, do you live like it?
So what do we do? Let’s look at Proverbs 2 again. Over the next few posts, we’ll break down the first few verses, and just “chew” on them a bit.
1 My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
Are you taking in the Word? Do you read it? More than that, do you meditate on it daily? I’m not saying you have to read a book a day, but do something! Jesus said to ask, and you would receive. We have no problem asking for material things, right? What about asking to know Him more? To understand His Word? To have a heart to understand His Word?
And do you view it as treasure? Do you view the Word as something of infinite worth, like buried treasure? If an outsider were to look at your life, what would they say you value most? I tell you, this convicts me just writing it. I do value the Word of God. I do value my relationship with Jesus. Yet there is so much that competes for my attention! So much can draw me away from Him. And again, it’s not necessarily bad things. But anything that draws me away from Jesus IS bad! I have to constantly realize that, ask for forgiveness, and then realign my values.
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
My heart inclines itself towards a lot of stuff, and much of it is not good for me. As a sinner saved by grace, my flesh still yearns for things I know are not good for me. Like a paperclip and a magnet, it causes me to bend away from the straight path. This is a constant battle for me while I walk this earth. I’m going to naturally incline away from what the Bible tells me is best. But you know what? The more I read the Word, the more I treasure it, the more I’m inclined to do it! The more I’m IN the Word, the more it gets IN me! My prayer is that that Lord will make the crooked ways in me straight!
What are you applying yourself to? I remember my dad telling me to apply myself in school. He meant get off your rear and act like you care! Are you applying your heart to understanding the Word? And when you do, then you apply it to your life! Allow the Word to instruct and guide you in the way you should go!
I’ll leave off with these familiar verses from Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord will all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”
I truly believe that this is simply a battle for our attention. Will we turn to the Lord and trust in Him, or will we continue to be drawn away by the distractions of this world?