Yesterday was the last day of the FamilyLife “Oneness” Prayer Challenge. Did you take part? Did you challenge yourself and your bride to pray “with” each other every night? If you did, how did it change your relationship or marriage? If you didn’t, what would it take for you to start?
I said at the first of the month that this was an area that I had failed miserably. But Cheryl and I committed to do this and it had a tremendous impact. Some nights we had to pray over the phone when I was out of town, but I have to tell you that those were some of the more emotional nights. Some nights we had to get back out of bed to pray. It seemed like Ol’ Red and his minions tried to keep us from praying every night.
Now, I truly believe that he fears a husband and wife that prays together every night. If you did this, you probably know that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. But what things in life that are easy, are really that valuable or meaningful?
Which brings me to something that I have said and I hear a lot of people say:
“I put God first in my life.”
I know we are commanded to do this. I know that I should work at this every moment of every day. The truth is, I struggle here also. It’s just so easy to default into my own selfish nature. I start out with the best of intentions, my personal prayer time is in the morning. But it doesn’t take long for me to put the old “Me Monster” at the top.
It seems like a revolving door to who or what is #1 in my life every day at any given time. God, ME, Cheryl, ME, food, ME, work, ME, TV, God, food, ME, on and on and on. Sometimes I get to the end of the day and wonder if I ever acknowledged Christ at any point during the day.
If all of us that have said this, with the best intentions of course, were really doing this, would this world, our community look like it does? Of course it wouldn’t. So how do we really do this? How do we put God first and keep Him there?
Our example to follow is Christ. He always put the will of the Father first. He didn’t seek fame, recognition, bigger or better things; He sought the will of God. He didn’t live in luxury, or anything close to it. He was always with people, especially those suffering. He was always looking for a place or someone to serve, not to be served.
Knowing this, the first thing I want to think is, “I’m not perfect, I can’t be perfect like Jesus.” But that’s not the point.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15.
But I can’t be perfect. Or can I?
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.
So it seems that I willingly go to the cop out of “I’m not Jesus, I can’t be perfect.” Makes me feel a little better about myself. Kind of takes some of the pressure off. But it’s not what Jesus said, so have I given in to a lie born of hell just to make myself feel better?
Paul said this: “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5: 1-2.
Can I be perfect? Can you be perfect?
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10: 27.
Whether a camel through the eye of a needle or a rich man entering heaven, if all things are possible with God, isn’t being perfect something we can be with God?
I need to stop standing and running in the wrong direction and run to the cross of Christ!