On the importance of taking your faith seriously
I don’t know where you are. Maybe, in your devotion to God you have been tirelessly struggling to make Him happy. Maybe you daily devote yourself to the Word and prayer. Maybe you spend your lunch our evaluating your life in light of the 10 commandments. Maybe you carry a prayer list in your back pocket and a Bible in your purse. Maybe you repent each evening with heartfelt tears.
If that’s you, then I think you are unusual (in a good way). And then this post isn’t for you (at least not until the end – so skip ahead!)
The problem for most of us, I think, is that we don’t take our faith, and our God, seriously enough. Our issue is not that we are burdened and tired from striving to do God’s will. For most of us, our problem is that we’re tired from doing everything else. Our problem is that God gets the leftovers: our leftover time, leftover money, left over energy, our leftover words and prayers. First we give to ourselves, our jobs, our families, and then and only then, God.
Our faith becomes something for tomorrow. Something for when life slows down. It’s not that we are faithless. Not at all. No, the problem is that we take our faith, and our God, for granted. He’ll be there when we come back. He’ll forgive us when we miss up. He’ll listen when we get around to praying.
All too often I find my devotion time interrupted by some “more important” task. I start praying, but then get pulled away by a worry that my mind can’t shake. My worship is filled with distractions and to-do lists. My heart doesn’t break like it should over my sin or the sin I see around me. My shoulders shrug way too often. My lips say, “I’ll get to that tomorrow.”
The Very Serious Nehemiah
I guess I should just speak for myself. Because I’m the one who was completely knocked over this morning as I read the book of Nehemiah. And it was because I saw in Nehemiah a devotion and seriousness that my life is so often lacking.
I won’t retell the whole story and go through all the details. Basically what happened is that this man Nehemiah comes back to Jerusalem (The Holy City) to find the city walls in ruins. Jerusalem has seen better days. And the moment Nehemiah sees what God has allowed to happen, he weeps. He mourns for days. He prays to God and repents for his sin and the sin of his fathers.
Nehemiah doesn’t make excuses, he doesn’t shift the blame, he doesn’t point fingers, and he doesn’t shrug his shoulders in indifference. No, he gets down on his knees to cry out to the only one who can do something about it. He recognizes that this is serious business.
A God We Can Seriously Count On
I think what Nehemiah recognizes is that this serious problem he finds needs to be brought to a very serious God.
Now, when I say that God is serious, I don’t mean to say that He’s a Debbie-Downer. It’s not that God doesn’t know how to smile. God isn’t some stodgy and stuffy Father figure who can’t take a joke.
No, when I say God is serious (and what I think Nehemiah saw in Him too) was that God is deliberate when it comes to solving problems. He is sincere in His care for us. God attacks our brokenness head on. He devotes His time and attention to us. He doesn’t act flippantly. God is not flighty or superficial. He never pushes off until tomorrow what needs to be done today. God doesn’t take us for granted. He never gives us His leftovers.
No, we have a God who gave the best of Himself, all of Himself, on the cross for us. He took our problem of sin so seriously that He laid down His life. And today, He is diligently, meticulously watching over us and caring for our every need.
It is with this utter seriousness, determination, and care that God approaches each of us. He seriously died on a cross so that burnt out Christians might find their peace, and for Christians who own have time for Him on Sunday mornings so that they could see how much He cares.
Like, Seriously Though
If that’s the kind of God we have (and it is), then maybe it’s time we take Him just as seriously as He takes us. Let’s give Him the best of our time, our money, our thoughts, and our words. How about we live lives of service as if what we do actually matters and as if God is working through us? What if we prayed like God was actually listening, studied like the Bible actually presented truth, and showed up to Church as if there were gifts there that we desperately needed?
Let’s be serious Christians. Not Christians with serious faces who don’t know how to smile, but Christians who can’t get over how powerful, caring, and loving our God is. Let’s be Christians who take our sin seriously and who recognize our serious need for Jesus. And then let’s be Christians who respond in serious fashion – with love and care, service and sacrifice, prayer and study, thanksgiving and praise.
Like, seriously though.
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