There has never been another time in our history when we have been so steeped in anxiety, fear and need. As a result, the academic Christian community is beginning to roll out a remarkable number of “missional” articles, books and soon, I suspect, resources to help us put our faith into action.
I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with this. In fact, I’d include myself among the Christians who could use a challenge to think and live more globally. My concern, though, is that we will shift our time and energies too far in the other direction; forgetting our own spiritual commitments and needs.
Friends, I’m certain that the compassion welling within us is immeasurably pleasing to God. But if we set aside our spiritual disciplines, we will become nothing more than another clanging symbol of “Do as I say, not as I do.” We will also become increasingly at risk for relying upon our own strength; reaching out from our human compassion, but without God’s blessing and strength.
Some of you might recall in the book of Esther where the entire nation of God’s people were about to loose everything and be put to death. Recognizing the imminent danger, what does Queen Esther do? Rather than springing into action to save her people, she calls for three days of fasting and prayer. You might think, “Yeah, I’d put certain death off for three days too! But here’s the thing, three days or not, she was committing to do whatever needed to be done. And seriously, don’t you think she would have picked feasting, not fasting, if her motives were selfish? That’s gotta he a much better way to go than to be starving!
But back to the point of this message… compassion, yes! Neglecting your prayer life, no!!!
I’m wrestling with this myself right now and noticed that I’ve stopped reading my Bible plans. That’s something easy to measure, because the app tracks it for you! But what about the other commitments I’ve made to honor God and in recognition of my need to keep Him at the center of my life? Am I praying like I used to? What about studying the Bible? For that matter, am I even thinking about God throughout the day as often as I did before the pandemic?
Whatever you need to do to keep God first in your life must come first!