Have you ever known anyone who needed to lose a few pounds? I could stand to lose a few myself. I know what it takes to lose weight – you must decrease the intake of calories and increase the expenditure of energy – in other words: diet and exercise. Watching the late night infomercials has amused me. People are willing to fork over money for this product and that – diet pills and home gyms but aren’t willing to put on a pair of sneakers and go for a walk or say no thanks to the chips and dip in front of the TV.
In the spiritual realm, I see a similar situation – we know we are supposed to do the basics – read the bible and pray – but we don’t want to do that. We want flash over substance, dessert before dinner – anything but what we know to do.
You know you should read your bible – and it’s not as though it’s unavailable – you probably have more than five copies at your house. One excuse after another flows through your mind until you settle on a “one minute devotional” and hope that is good enough. Some may even watch 22 minutes of a show on TV of a preacher who may quote one verse in the whole 22 minutes. Wow – really full now aren’t you?
We know we should pray and we really mean to – as soon as this show is over – or as soon as I finish this project. We tell people we will pray for them – but do we? How long do you spend in prayer every day? Prayer – not listening to a worship CD – but prayer.
Our flesh cries out “Anything but that!” We’ll do a high powered conference, read a book about Christianity or even talk about prayer – but actually read the bible and pray? How about a seeker sensitive welcome group or a class on social relevance? Maybe if we buy a mug with a verse on it from the Christian bookstore – will that do it?
Read the bible and pray – diet and exercise. We know what to do – we just don’t want to do it. The problem isn’t that you don’t know the “Five Steps to a More Prosperous You” or that you haven’t heard the latest “Defining your Destiny” sermon. The problem is that you don’t read your bible and pray.