|by Jeffrey L. Nape
Drip... Drip... Drip... Does the sound of a leaky faucet get on your nerves? Do you ever get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again? When I look at my articles, I realize that I sometimes sound like a broken record. I keep saying, "Pray and study your Bible." Nag, nag, nag. Do I keep repeating myself because I don't have enough imagination or creativity to think of something new to say? Or am I just too lazy to think of something more original?
Even after we have learned new concepts, we still need occasional reminders or we will forget them. And we also need refresher courses to provide new perspectives, new applications, and deeper insights on those same concepts.
Since we are constantly learning new things, we cannot keep in mind everything we know. And we certainly cannot act on everything we know. We have to set priorities. We have to know what is important to God. And each of us has to know what is important to us as individuals.
We each have specific ideas or goals that are more important to us than they are to other people. We each have our own purpose in life. Whatever gives each of us a unique purpose, also gives all of us a common purpose or bond. We all are to serve the Lord. We just serve in a variety of ways. (1 Pe 4:10-11)
So when I keep reminding you to pray and study the Bible, what am I really trying to say? Discover what God's will is for all of us. Experience the common denominator that binds us all together: God's love. Then discover what God's will is for you as an individual: explore how you are to express God's love to others through serving the Lord.
In physical terms, we all know we must eat. No one has to tell us (or remind us) when it is time to eat; our bodies tell us. We become aware of physical symptoms, like fatigue. Or our growling stomachs sound our hunger alarm. Then when we eat, our bellies receive the food and transform it into life-sustaining nourishment for our bodies. We do not ignore the growling voices of our bellies. We must heed these symptoms and listen to our bodies, or we will experience a physical death.
In spiritual terms, we know we must receive nourishment from God. The Holy Spirit reminds us of our need for God. We experience spiritual fatigue. We hunger. We thirst. We long to know and to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. (Ps 42, Ps 119:129-136) The Holy Spirit can serve the purpose of our spiritual bellies. (Ro 8:1-27) It can tell us about our hunger for God. And it can actually receive spiritual food from God and transform that food into life-sustaining nourishment for our souls. With the help of the Holy Spirit, prayer and Bible study can nourish and sustain our souls. We must heed these longings and listen to God's spirit, or we will experience a spiritual death.
Since we do not ignore the warning signs from our physical bellies, why do we ignore the warning signs from our spiritual bellies? The Holy Spirit tells us when our souls are hungry for God. Why do we ignore the Holy Spirit? Because the voice of the Holy Spirit has competition. We also hear the voice of Satan, who keeps us busy with worldly things. Satan whispers in our ears, "There will be plenty of time to catch up later. Don't bother worrying about that religious stuff now." But will there be time to catch up on God later? And even if there is time later, if God does not seem important enough for us to bother with now, will He seem important enough for us to bother with later?
We feed our faces at least three times a day. But how many of us feed our faith through prayer and Bible study that often? If eating were not important enough for us to bother with, we would be committing physical suicide. If prayer and Bible study are not important enough for us to bother with, we are committing spiritual suicide.
Some things are so important that they warrant being repeated continually. Let's hear that little sermon one more time. "Pray and study your Bible." Now, did that little sermon make you cringe at my nagging? Maybe you thought, "Quit listening to that repetitive drivel. Go ahead and throw that broken record out the window!"
Or was that little sermon a helpful reminder of your need to keep your priorities straight? Maybe you even responded by saying, "Thank you, dear God, for caring. I know I sometimes need reminded to keep you close to my heart. Thank you, dear Father, for drawing me into your love."
© 1994 Jeffrey L. Nape. All Rights Reserved.
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