Not too long ago, a gentleman asked me to share my opinion regarding what it was that I perceived to be the greatest challenge facing today’s Christians. Initially, that seemed to be an overly broad topic to address, as the present-day social climate certainly yields much to choose from in the way of external opposition. Even so, I was confident as I explained to this man that the greatest obstacles that Christians face today are almost always the result of their own personal habits.
I believe that the biggest hindrance to any person’s ability to succeed in all areas of life is a combined lack of discernment, diligence, and dependability–call it a “3-D” problem if you will. This problem equates to the aggregate deficit of wisdom that inevitably results from a lack of Bible study. It is that simple. There isn’t a person alive on this planet who could not benefit from increased Bible study. We all have much to learn–and much that needs to be reinforced. We cannot know how to “live life to its fullest,” and how to please God by doing “everything unto the Lord,” unless we know and understand His wisdom and His instruction concerning every dimension of living (2 Timothy 3:16).
The greatest “competitor” to Bible study, and the greatest plague of the modern age, is “busy-ness.” This ailment manifests itself in the forms of shallow, short-sighted hyper-activity, trivial distractions, and “entertainment.” From the moment we wake up to the moment that we retire each day, Satan ensures that we will have the opportunity to ignore our greatest need by virtue of the countless and meaningless pursuits, distractions, and ideologies with which he has filled the world. For many, the daily battle is lost before they even leave their homes. Television, newspaper, and Internet habits often crowd reading, and meditating on God’s Word, right off of the “launching pad.” These people begin their day with anything BUT the “Good News,” and, in so doing, they cripple their day’s spiritual trajectory right from the start. From there, it is easy for them to continue to lose ground as the world’s attractions grab at their “un-renewed minds” while they move through the day amidst a sea of secular bombardments.
No matter who you are, or where you live in this world, it will take a determined, conscious effort to put, and keep, God in first-place each and every day of your life. This is the only way to get off of the ground each day–and it is the only way to “fly” after take-off. Even if everything else goes sour for you during the remainder of the day, you can rest at its end in the knowledge that its beginning was in “the win column”–and that it was both pleasing to God and restorative to your soul (Psalm 19:7).
“Right being” both trumps and precedes “right doing” every time–and when we are right with God, then His priorities become our priorities. This means that fulfilling the Great Commission takes first-place on our “to-do” lists. For many persons, this may call for a radical or ruthless shifting of priorities or “loyalties.” Most often, the solution is not to hurry our pace so that we can fit more things into our days. This approach typically results in diminished or unsatisfactory quality, output, and effectiveness–and it robs God of the best effort that He deserves from us.
We need to always remember that God engineers enough time into each day for us to do ONLY the things that He would have us do IN LOVE and WITH GRACE (1 Corinthians 16:14, 1 Peter 4:8-11). What is it about you that makes someone else desire to become a Christian? What is it about your redeemed life that makes others want to know your Redeemer? We want our lives to be as “letters from God” that can be “read” by all who see and interact with us. Better yet, we want to make these letters of our lives to be “love letters.” In order to do this, we need to disengage from shallow, rushed, low priority activities–and add some depth, meaning, and sincerity to our outreach.
In an increasingly “plastic” society, quality stands out and commands attention–and God “wrote the Book” on quality! If we are too busy to read His Word early and often, then we are simply too busy–and we are out of step with God’s plan for our lives. We hinder our lives and our choices–as well as the experience of those around us, when we lack the discernment, diligence, and dependability that can only result from the study of God’s Word (Joshua 1:8).