So I Press On Toward The Goal

This last week I decided to watch the first episode of Downton Abbey. I wondered what all the hype was about and wanted something to pass the time for the evening. I just wanted to watch the first episode, but of course, one led to two which led to five and then eight…they really know how to hook you, don’t they?!

I am so easily addicted to things like this. And starting from episode 1 of season 1 when there are now 3 seasons out there means I could easily spend a lot of time catching up. I could watch it for hours upon hours! And the temptation is there, no doubt! I found myself meditating on it…thinking about it throughout the day, reflecting on what had happened and contemplating what could happen.

By the end of the week, I felt a little duller toward the things of the Lord. Meditating on scripture? Is that nearly as satisfying? Reading and praying and singing songs to the Lord? It just didn’t seem as attractive or fulfilling to me…but I knew in my heart it is even more so.

Please hear me out that I am NOT saying watching TV or flipping through magazines or scrolling through pinterest and the like are evils in themselves. They can be enjoyable pastimes and can prove beneficial sometimes.

But hear this too: if our faith feels a little dry and our joy is dull, maybe it’s because we aren’t spending time in the Lord’s presence…searching to know Him through His Word and prayer, experiencing the fullness of joy that comes in his presence alone.

Maybe it’s because we feed the lesser desires of satisfying these pastime enjoyments instead of feeding the deeper need of knowing Him.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. -Psalm 16:11

Do we believe that in His presence there really is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore? Have we experienced it?

Nothing else satisfies but everything else promises to.

Everything else promises to: it’s a lie from the father of lies. And so often we buy into it – we spend our time and money and thoughts meditating on that which we are sure will satisfy. It slowly steals our joy, dulls our faith, and we become somewhat complacent with a half-hearted faith…just living day-to-day with no real sense of purpose or joy. Not dead, but not on fire for the Lord in quite the same way.

When I think of the woman I hope to become and what I hope my life will amount to, it’s become so clear to me that spending endless hours passing time was not going to get me there. And yet there are so many temptations to fill time to just pass the time.

I have to ask: What do we hope our life will amount to? And is spending time doing _______ going to get us toward that end-goal? Because if not, maybe it isn’t worth our time. Maybe our time should be more purposeful and valuable in seizing opportunities to know the Lord more and finding out that He really is real and in His presence really is complete fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

It takes discipline. It takes devotion. But let me tell you: it is worth it. When I spend time in the presence of the Lord, learning more about Him and rejoicing in this great God who saved my soul …it is well worth it and I am never left wanting or feeling dull.

So church, press on toward the goal of knowing Him more and making Him known. Resist that which is not beneficial in getting you there. It’s not always a pretty, internal dialogue. Sometimes the temptation is fierce and the flesh seems stronger than the spirit – but stand firm and keep fighting the good fight.

And while there are endless moments to let life pass by, to live for vain pleasures and waste time on unworthy causes, I hope we remain focused, devoted, and disciplined; aflame with a love for the Lord that dims our desire for anything not of Him.

I hope we live a life worthy of the calling which we have received and of the God whom we serve.

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To The Mountain Top

Keep running. You’re almost there! I coach myself on as I run uphill. I love running uphill, but it is the hardest part, and consequently, once the ground plateaus, I am also worn out. I slow down a bit to catch my breath and give myself a break. And soon enough, I’ll get to run downhill. I love running downhill too…it is undoubtedly easier to run downhill, though I’ve heard it is actually worse on our knees because of the greater impact on them. But yet that does not negate the fact that it is easier.  

I most often run through the Arboretum near our cottage. This time of year many of the spring-time lush plants seem to die off from the summer heat.  As I ran my usual path this evening, everything seemed dead and still, as though in a drought.

Likewise, in our spiritual journey, it is much easier to run downhill and sometimes we may go through seasons of spiritual drought. Fellow disciples of Jesus: the road we travel is not easy; it is narrow and steep. Undoubtedly, IT IS easier to run downhill, though the consequence is great. So remain in Him. Though we won’t always have mountain-top experiences in our faith, and though we may go through seasons of spiritual drought, we must keep pressing into Him by reading His word and praying continuously. It is easy to get spiritually lazy, and then easier to go downhill. But the only way to the mountain top is to keep running even through the rough terrain; the only way to experience the overflow of His Spirit is to remain faithful in watering your soul even through the drought.

We cannot lose heart. Friends, we cannot lose heart. Fight the good fight. Press on. Finish the race, though it may be uphill. We must continue on the path that is steep and narrow, but in the end, He is our great reward.

“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it…Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father…Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” -Matt. 7:14, 21, 24
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” -1st Cor. 9:24