Does living this Christian life seem like a lot of hard work and you seem to always fall short? Do you feel burned out? Join the crowd! Let’s take a look at the great men and women of God and the Scriptures and see what their secret was to living this Christian life.
Well sorry to inform you there is no easy answer for the hard work part. To do well at anything takes hard work. Now that that is on the table let me share with you my journey in searching for the answer to this question
When I became a Christian I was told that the Bible was like an instruction manual for life. Well I am one of “those people” who read the instruction manual. I dutifully read the manual trying to figure out how to live this life. But I wasn’t very good at following the instructions. I seemed to always do it wrong. This sparked my interest in how did the Great men and women of God live the Christian life? What was their secret?
Back in 1987 I had an opportunity to travel with Josh McDowell a Christian author and speaker, as an intern for the purpose of learning how to communicate. We traveled all over the world, 48,000 miles in 9 months. By the way, while in the US, he flew and we drove the truck! To say the least we had a lot of down time traveling, so I took the opportunity to read every biography I could get my hands on of the great men and women that finished well. I wanted to see what their secret was to their success and if there were any common character traits or activities between them that I could learn from.
Visiting the Great Churches!
We had the privilege to visit and speak at many of the well known churches around the US and abroad. We visited all types of churches from the most fundamental conservative to a charismatic Latin church with a white and red stripe canopy in the middle of the rain forest. A Common thing that I saw amongst the churches were leaders that were leading the defeated Christian life.
I found this very discouraging. Here were men and women that were busy serving the Lord but seemed burnt out. I asked the Lord about it and He took me to John 5: 19, & 30, 8:26,28 and 12:49-50
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”(John 5:30) “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19)
Doing what the Father is doing!
Wow! Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing, or He only said what the Father told Him or taught Him to say. If Jesus is the perfect example of a Christian and He only did what he saw or heard from the Father where does that leave me!
The Lord started showing me that in church there are many good things to do. There are Bible studies, feeding the poor, Sunday school or numerous other things to do and all good things. What I saw happening was that theses men and women wanted to please God so they were doing all these things to please God, but not necessarily what God wanted them to do. And they were burning out.
What became clear as I started studying this is that we are only responsible for the things that God has called us to do. If we are doing the things that God wants us to do He will provide the motivation, the resources and anything else that we require to accomplish His Call. But if we are not doing what God has called us to do we will not have the resources to do these activities successfully.
This really hit me. If Jesus only did what He saw Father doing or heard the Father tell Him to do, I needed to learn how to hear the Father’s voice. This started me down the path over the past 27 years learning how to hear God’s voice. And it has been quite an adventure.
Back to the great Men and Women of God!
There were several commonalities that I found between many of the Great Men and Women of God. One was that they had an supernatural encounter with God that launched them into their ministry. Many had a dying to their calling before God released them into their ministry. And their ministry and life was birthed and maintained out of a place of prayer. Another common trait that tells us what they thought at the end of their lives was the most important thing, almost everyone stated looking back they wished they had prayed more!
Pray and Obey!
Paul Yonggi Cho who was the pastor of the worlds largest church was asked what his was the secret of his success? He responded “I pray and obey.” That is what Jesus did every morning He would go out to a lonely place and meet with the Father.
The secret to living the Christian life is to “pray and obey.” It is really that simple. It is simple but like I said in the beginning the Christian life is hard work.
Jesus said in John 5:39 (TLB) “You search the Scriptures, for you believe they give you eternal life. And the Scriptures point to me!” God desires to have relationship with us. The Christian life is not following an instruction manual. It is letting the manual lead us into relationship. In any relationship there is two way communication, so we need to learn how to hear His Voice.
Just a note: in learning how to hear God’s voice 80% comes from reading God’s word. Also just as in life there are some basic things like eating, sleeping, working there are some basics to living the Christian life such as going to church, being in fellowship, spending time studying the Bible and ministering to others.
We need Fresh Mana every day!
The Bible tells us that Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) We need to go before the Father each day and get our fresh mana.
Psalm 127:1 tells us “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” By doing what He has called us to we can truly experience the full Christian that life that the Lord has planned for us, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The Lord has already prepared things for us to do we just need to learn how to “see “what He is doing and “hear” His directions.
Also just as in life there are some basic things like eating, sleeping, working there are some basics to living the Christian life such as going to church, being in fellowship, spending time studying the Bible and ministering to others. This is where the “Pray and Obey” comes in what church do we go to, what group do we get involved with, which part of the Bible do we study and who and where do we minister. It comes down to that day to day relationship with the Father so that we can “See” what He is doing and say what He has spoken and taught us to say.