“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in our house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
—— Deuteronomy 6:1-9
I often talk about the importance of what we are pursuing. If we are pursuing walking with the Lord, repenting of sin, living in obedience to God, and spending time daily in prayer and in the Bible, it reflects it in how we live our lives. This doesn’t always mean that we live up to these things, but we are at least going in the right direction.
If we are being honest with ourselves, I don’t think any of us can truly say that we make God the top priority in our lives. We would like to think that we do, but it is quite humbling to realize that this often isn’t the case. As much as we may want to put God first, we get busy, distracted, and even sadly at times, caught up in sin.
One of the things we notice when we begin to lose focus on the Lord is that sin begins to creep in. Our speech, the topic of conversation and the words we use, begin to be compromised. Our attitudes begin to be more prideful and our actions become more selfish. Our relationships begin taking a toll. Without realizing, we have let ourselves slip further and further away from the Lord. And if left unchecked, we are in danger of ditching our faith altogether.
Sin can even happen even when we are consistently spending time with the Lord. Satan seeks our demise. That is why we must be conscious and intentional in all our ways. As believers, we must wake up each day with the intent of living out our faith in obedience to the Lord.
Living out our faith is not just another box to check off on the to-do list. Rather, faith is a decision to spend time in prayer, reading the Bible, sharing Jesus with others, and being continually aware of the opportunities all around us for God’s glory. Some have compartmentalized their time with the Lord as having “quiet time” or “devotionals”. But to only carve out time for God at certain parts of the day is just to fit God into our schedules and not the fullness of faith that we see according to Scripture. Our pursuit of God doesn’t just end with our scheduled times with the Lord, but must carry on throughout each of our daily activities.
A way that we can evaluate our pursuit of the Lord is to think about how we spend our time. If we are consumed by things, both inside and outside the home, with work, entertainment, or many other distractions, this impacts our relationship with God. And what ends up happening is that it reveals what we are really pursuing in life. While some things are necessary, our faith in the Lord must continue to be our focus.
It is interesting listening to the older generation share about how the “times have changed”. Hearing of simpler times and how people used to make God, church, and family a greater priority, has given way to the “always on the go” mentality. Whereas, people used to not work or play on Sundays, Sundays are now just another day for most. I’m not saying that all who did these things were believing or even doing them for the right reasons, but it should give us something to think about.
In North America, people have also been consumed by their desire to obtain a certain lifestyle. In order to have bigger and nicer homes, cars, vacations, and all the stuff that people think they need, they look to “climb the ladder” in their careers so that they can help pay for these lifestyles. The belief is that if only they just had “more money” they could attain these things. Even among professing Christians, they also tend to get overwhelmed by thinking having more is necessary; even to the point that they are willing to go into debt and ends up being so much more than most can even possibly afford. The endless cycle of needing to have everything causes many more problems than it can ever be worth.
If it is difficult for Christians to be pursuing the Lord, what makes us think that it is easy for anyone.
Pursuing the Lord takes intentional decisions to adjust our lifestyles accordingly. It takes practice. Our natural response is to gain more and only look after ourselves. But when confronted by our sinfulness and worldly ways, it exposes us to not pursuing the Lord as we should. It takes humility and self-awareness to begin change these things and start making the necessary steps in making the Lord the top priority for ourselves and our families.
From the Deuteronomy passage above, everything begins and ends with our pursuit of the Lord. When we carry the lifestyle of walking in faith, faith doesn’t simply become an add-on, but rather the pursuit of our whole being. The Lord and faith become the real essence of who we are and what we do. They aren’t something that we only talk about at church or as we go through a passage of the Bible, but something that should become a normal part of our conversation. Thinking about the Lord and His Way is something that has to always be on our minds and a continual reminder as we go throughout our days.
What we find is that the more we are diving into the Bible, spending time praying for others, and looking for opportunities to share faith with people, there is always something that we can share about what we’ve been learning and how the Lord is working in our lives. It is when you struggle with trying to share something about what you may have been reading in the Bible or what the Lord has been teaching each you, that it reveals how you have been losing sight on the Lord.
Having God’s Word on our hearts, teaching God’s Way diligently to our children, talking about the Lord and what it means to follow Him, must become a normal part of our lives. Therefore, we need to begin to intentionally make the Lord and living out our faith a greater priority in every area of our lives. Biblical Christianity demands that our faith in Jesus isn’t a set of rules, rituals, and ceremonies to follow, but rather a lifestyle of walking with the Lord that we pursue in every part of every day.