Ifs, Ands and Buts

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Do you long to be closer to the Lord? Do you look at other “super Christians” and wonder how on earth they manage to be so darn spiritual? Do you buy the lie that they must just be more “good” than you because they don’t struggle with sin as much? Do you find yourself thinking there’s no possible way you could ever meet “that” standard, so why even try?

Friend, I’m gonna tell you a secret . . . Lean in real close so you can hear . . .

THERE ARE NO SUPER-CHRISTIANS.

None.

Zip.

Zilch.

Nada.

On the contrary, we are all equally sinful. That’s because there are no degrees of sin with God. He counts all sin simply as sin. Apart from Christ, there is no one that is righteous. No one. Righteousness can only be attained through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ Himself credited to our account. We all come into relationship with the Father the same way. Through Jesus. Period. And we all start at the same place positionally on the day we are born again into the Father’s kingdom.

So then, why do some appear as what we would label a Super Christian? Well, for many reasons. A whole lot of it has to do with our own perception. We compare ourselves to another human rather than comparing ourselves to Jesus Christ. Christ is the standard by which we are to measure ourselves. Not others. And when we properly measure ourselves against Christ’s perfection, we come woefully short. When we realize how short of Christ’s example we truly fall, we are humbled. God can work with a humble heart. He’s actually an expert at using imperfection to glorify Himself. It’s sorta His whole plan for the ages. 🙂

So, how do we learn to pattern ourselves after Christ’s example? First, we must be sure we actually belong to Him. Because without the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit, we have no ability to walk in obedience to God and His Word. We must examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith as 2 Corinthians 13:5 says. We must understand the gospel and be sure we didn’t believe in vain (1 Corinthians 15). We must understand that true conversion produces good fruit and examine our lives to be sure there has been a transformed life. Obedience to the Lord is the key indicator of a transformed life. (See John 14)

But, we can’t obey what we don’t know. So, how do we know how to obey? Where do we find the instructions? The holy, inerrant, infalliable, SUFFICIENT Word of God. The Bible. Because each believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling them, we can go directly to the source, the Word, and know and understand it. 1 John 2:27 tells us that we have “no need for anyone to teach you” and John 14 that we looked at in the last paragraph tells us that the Spirit will “teach you all things.”

“But Kim, I just can’t find the TIME to really study the Word.”

This brings us to our role of responsibility in the learning. None of us get a flash drive or microSD card with all the information we’ll ever need as a Christian on the day we are saved. But we are left with an instruction manual called the Bible. It is our responsibility to get familiar with it and feed ourselves from the feast it contains. We can know and understand it as much as we are willing to put forth the effort. And God will meet us in it and go with us as deep as we want to go, as often as we are willing to dig. Bottom line is we must know the Word of God if we are to know the God of the Word.

But Kim, I just can’t find the TIME to really study the Word. You don’t know my life. You’re right, I don’t. I can only speak about my own life. We all have similar commitments, though. And for most of us, nearly every minute of every day is scheduled with commitments. It might look something like what follows. Or worse. I have to take Johnny to soccer. If my boss didn’t want me to work 70 hours a week, I’d have more time. Suzie needs to be at dance what feels like 14 nights a week. Not to mention my church commitments. I have choir practice on Tuesday and women’s ministry on Thursday and missions committee meeting on Sunday and drama practice on Saturday, and, and, and . . .

I’ve heard it said “If Satan can’t make you BAD, he’ll make you BUSY.”

Go back and read that one again, there’s amazing truth in that statement. Go ahead . . . I’ll wait . . .

Here’s my answer to all the “buts” I hear in objection to spending real quality time mining the depths of the Word. EXCUSES, EXCUSES. You know how I know they’re simply excuses? Because I use them myself. All the time. If we aren’t committed to MAKING time to study the Word, we will never, ever FIND the time to study. There isn’t any time to be found. We’re all busy. And it comes down to this – The things that we actually DO, the things that really get crossed off our endless to-do list, are really the things that MATTER to us. If studying the Bible doesn’t actually ever get done, then that means it’s not really important to us. We DO the things that are important to us. If we’re not DOING Bible study, it’s because it doesn’t matter to us more than the other things that are getting done.

“We DO the things that are important to us.”

If you didn’t get mad at me after that last paragraph and you’re still reading, hear my heart on this:

I AM NOT PERFECT.

I fail at this prioritizing just the same as you. At times, I find myself going days without doing more than reading a short devotional and calling that sufficient. But it isn’t sufficient. My daily walk makes it evident pretty quickly if God isn’t getting first place in my life. I am not preaching the gospel back to myself and rehearsing the goodness of it, because I forget it very, very quickly when I step away from the Word for even one day. We aren’t so much different, you and I.

Please, please let the frank nature of my message be an encouragement to you. It can be done. If nothing else in your day gets done well, let your study time with the Lord be the one thing you will not compromise. Exponential growth can happen when we are diligent to really press in to the Word and get to know Who we are serving. If you’re still around, in my next article, I’ll share some “how-tos” of Bible study that I know are effective and will bless you greatly.

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