All Day Every Day
During the past three months of recovery, I’ve had more time than usual to spend with God. I loved it. As I spent long extended times with God each day, my spirit was revived and refreshed like a thirsty plant drenched by summer rains. Two books grabbed my attention for study during my Quiet time. The first was ‘Celebration of Discipline’ by Richard Foster. I found immense spiritual wealth studying the disciplines of Prayer, Fasting, Study, Celebration, Simplicity, Service and more. The book changed my life.
The second book I studied was one on prayer called ‘Alone with God’ by John MacArthur. I studied the Lord’s Prayer with his help and learnt more on what prayer is all about. Thirteen weeks on … I suddenly was at a loss. “What do I study next?’ I wondered. I didn’t need to wonder for long. The books of Philippians and Ephesians are some of my favourite spiritual foods – yummy finger foods, scrumptious main meals and delicious desserts to quell any spiritual hunger. They’ve built me up in the faith and have given me direction and help in walking in God’s ways. I decided to treat myself to them.
My ex Pastor Jeff had preached a series on Philippians which had helped me before. I hunted for his sermons and found them. A godly man or woman’s perspective always aids my learning when I study the Word. As I glanced at the printed copies of Jeff’s sermons, I noticed that the one of them was formatted differently to the rest. It was double spaced rather than single spaced. Lots of white space was embedded in it. The sermon covered 3 ½ pages of A4 paper unlike the rest which were only 2 pages. It seemed that someone other than Jeff had preached that particular sermon.
A few days on, I sat in our family room, praise music wafting in the air, enjoying my time with Jesus. After I studied that day’s portion of Philippians, I eagerly picked up the sermon. It was the ‘differently formatted sermon’ – the one I assumed someone other than Jeff had preached. A few things struck me. First, I was amazed that the preacher had been able to write almost four A4 pages on those few verses. I’d found the reading helpful and inspiring. But if I’d written a sermon it probably would have been just a few lines long. Not four pages! Oh no!
As I read on, I discovered with sure certainty that it had to be Jeff who had preached it after all. How did I know? I’ve listened to over 8 years of Jeff’s preaching when he’d been our pastor. The sermon I read that day was exactly his style. Consistent with not just what he preached – but also consistent with his vocabulary. Who else would use the word ‘Bloke’ when referring to St Paul?
As usual his sermon inspired me, encouraged me and challenged me. I then mulled over something else. The reason that I was sure it was one of Jeff’s sermons was simply because it was consistent with the kind of sermon he always preached. It sounded almost as if Jeff was speaking. It was his ‘voice’. Yes, I had no doubt it was his sermon.
It made me reflect awhile on what it means to be consistent. How consistent am I in my walk with God? Do my thoughts, my words, my actions, my life - all prove that I am a disciple of Jesus? All the time? It’s very easy to be a Sunday Christian and exude cheer and goodwill for a few hours on a Sunday morning. It’s also easy to be a some-of-the-time Christian, where I act with integrity, and live a perfect life for a part of my life.
But Jesus calls me to be an “All-day-Every-day-Disciple-of-Jesus”. That means I should ideally possess a thankful attitude no matter what my circumstances – in good times, but also in bad. It means that when I am treated well I would choose love; but if I am ill treated, then too I would still choose love. It means that when life hands me lemons, I don’t take a break. Instead I cheerfully go on to make lots of lemonade. It means that I use my time wisely. That I treat every person I meet with kindness and compassion. That I respond rather than react. That tiredness is no excuse for grumpiness. That my family’s opinion of me is the same as the opinion of those who meet me for a few hours when at my Sunday best.
Most of all, it means that God will be pleased with me. After all, It’s only God who knows me fully – even more than I know myself. He sees me from the inside out. He sees my heart.
What areas of life I need to work on today in order for my walk to be consistent?
Patience? Discipline? Trust? Sacrificial love? Endurance?
Help me Lord to become an “All Day Every Day Disciple”.
“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.
You'll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12:1,2