Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Power Soup and Making Sense

One of my best friends is simultaneously one of my strongest friends. To put it frankly, he's got pythons for arms. I've known him a long time, and he wasn't always that way. When I first knew him, he was pretty normal-sized. Then, as the years went by, he started hitting the gym and getting really strong. He could probably crack open walnuts with his guns. And I don't even think he likes walnuts!

Anyways, my friend eventually went on to compete in some power-lifting contests, even setting some world records. Having been to one of them, it might just be one of the most testosterone-filled places to be. Men (and some women) were lifting weights so heavy that they made the bars bend as they were taken off of the floor. You could literally grab the manliness out of the air and make soup out of it. Power soup. Yup.

In any case, my friend didn't get to where we has by just waking up, throwing on some exercise clothes, drinking a protein shake, and then sitting down to watch some TV. Nope. He worked. And when I say worked, I mean he went to the gym 5-6 times a week, often very early in the morning. He made sure that he was thoroughly disciplined in working out, doing the things that he knew he needed to do in order to accomplish the goals that he had.

So why don't we get it?

The physical realm reflects the spiritual. So, just like it takes a lot of working out to become strong, it takes a lot of prayer to be effective spiritually. We know this, yet, somehow, we don't take full advantage of it. And it doesn't make sense. I'll show you. Back before you were saved, you actively pursued the things that you wanted to be strong in. For some, this might have meant drugs, alcohol, parties, and general wild-living. For others, this could have meant being the ultra-religious holy roller who knew nothing else than making himself look better than everyone else. For others, this might have meant hanging out with friends and doing anything you could to make sure everyone liked you. For others, this might have been endlessly seeking "the one" person that would fulfill all of your romantic dreams.

Whatever the case is, your life's energy was devoted to finding strength in these things. But after you found Christ, you discovered that the only way to be satisfied and strong was to have a perfect relationship with Him. And the way to do that was by pursuing him in prayer and meditation on His Word. And if you haven't been completely convinced of that, check out Isaiah 40:

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

So I'll say it again: Expecting to be effective spiritually, while in a prayer-less state, simply does not make sense.

If the Scriptures tell us that this is where we find our power, we are truly being stupid to do things any other way. And I will be the first to admit stupidity. For as much as I can try to rail against others for not praying, I am inexcusably also at fault. Thankfully, God's working on me in this area. But let's be honest: how many of us run from this ministry-site to that Bible study, to that homeless outreach, to that Sunday school teaching session without having first found our strength in prayer? Without it, all of our "spiritual activities" are truly counter-productive, because we're subconsciously making the claim, "I don't need God's strength. I can do this on my own."

I don't know about you, but I am tired of doing it all on my own. Because I can't bring people to salvation, only Christ can. I can't help people grow in their relationship with God, only Christ can. So if I want my work for the Kingdom to be blessed, I need to have some sit-down time with the King.

So that leaves you. What's holding you back from strength-filling prayer?


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