“OK, kids. Time for breakfast.”
“Eat your eggs and then change your clothes so you’re ready for school.”
“You need eggs because it’s brain food.”
“It tastes yummy, not yucky.”
“You liked them yesterday. Why don’t you like them today?”
“Yes, Sara, eggs come from chickens.”
“No, the whites are all mixed in with the yolk now, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
“Salt tastes good on it, yes.”
“Ok now, you guys. Enough dawdling. Time to eat up. We’re out of time.”
“If you don’t eat your eggs you will be hungry too soon before we can have lunch.”
“Yes, we’re going to an appointment later… No, you can’t bring your Legos….Be kind to your sisters…Keep your hands to yourself…If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Etc., etc., etc.
At about this point in the conversation, I’ve had enough procrastinating. Time for a more direct approach…
This all too familiar conversation happened this morning. Sometimes I don’t have even this much patience to guide procrastinating children into their morning routines. But don’t we all do this same thing to the Lord?
We have read the Word. We have learned the lessons and heard the preaching. We know the theology behind the command. We know how it relates to other commands. We know the benefits of obeying it. We know the risk that might come to us personally. We know it might not be pleasant now, but it’s good for us in the long run.
Then the Word of God chides us for all of this procrastinating and often gives us a simple direct command. “Perform the doing of it” (2 Cor. 8:11), or as we have heard in our vernacular, “Just Do It!” The Holy Spirit then convicts our hearts as we lay aside our delays and get to work for His glory.
What are some of those one-word directives?
1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:25; James 5:13; Mark 14:38
Prayer is such a basic discipline of the Christian life, and yet it is often neglected. Prayer is powerful. It changes things. We know this so well that we are really good at giving and passing on prayer requests. Yet, actually going into our prayer closet and doing that secret work of bringing burdens to the Lord seems to be one of the hardest, though simplest, thing for a Christian to do. Let us rather seek the Lord’s face regularly, earnestly, sincerely, and humbly.
Rom. 12:15; Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16; Rev. 19:7
Joyfulness is more than just being happy. It is a deep sense of peace, free from striving that causes us to have a positive attitude and spirit. Even in difficult circumstances and dangers, we can have joy knowing that God is in control. I can’t help but wonder about those who claim the name of Christ yet have a sour disposition. Nothing seems to go right for them, and life is just too hard. A happy, friendly face by contrast is an indicator that all is well.
Ps. 46:10; Is. 14:7; Is. 57:2; Is. 57:20; Mark 6:31
The words “Be Still” means “to release, or let go.” It’s easy in a church to be busy about a lot of good things. It’s harder to sit, to listen, to meditate on the things of the Lord. The story of Mary and Martha comes to mind. Mary had chosen that better part of letting go of the details of housework and meal preparation in favor of sitting under the Master’s teaching. Martha had to learn this lesson the hard way being rebuked by her Lord directly. How many of us women fall into the Martha category? We juggle so many balls in the air, that we feel like we can’t drop one even if it’s so that we can make room for our own devotion to God. It’s so important to help our children learn this discipline, because it’s more than just being polite. It’s a lesson in ordering our priorities to allow for times of devotion, to make time to keep short accounts with the Lord, so that we can have a clear conscience as we meditate on his Word. Whether it is quieting ourselves for those long times of uninterrupted prayer, or foregoing an hour or two of sleep to read the Word, or sitting attentively during the preaching time, being still has become a lost art.
1 Thess. 5:22
We are to steer clear of all appearances of evil. In our Baptist circles, there is much debate over what separation means in practical terms. Really all people in every walk of life practices some form of separation. Those things that are unhealthy, that can too easily lead to sin or error must be kept at arms length or further away. When it comes to sexual sins, we are admonished to flee! (2 Tim. 2:22, 1 Cor. 6:18) And when it comes to idolatry, anything that we value more than God, we are to flee (1 Cor. 10:14). That sounds like separation to me. It means that when we come upon a so-called gray area in our walk, we are to abstain because of the potential danger of evil. This might be easier said than done, but God expects this of us anyway.
1 Cor. 15:34; Eph. 5:14; Rom. 13:11
In the same vein as the last point, we are to be dead to sin…but alive unto righteousness. We are of the day, the light. When I have to get my kids up to begin the day, it is usually still dark out. In Alaska, it’s dark until 10:30 on the shortest day of the year! So I will be gentle at first, hoping they’ll pop out of bed on their own, but invariably I have to flip on the lights and that does the trick. Wake up. There’s a lot of work to be done! Why do we take our ease so often? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak! Yes, but we must awake. Now is the time for work. Today is the day of salvation. The time for rest is later, and it will surely come, but we must now work for the night is coming!
I know the main command of the Great Commission is to make disciples. But how can we do that unless we go to them? I like to be at home, and as a homemaker, that is my primary domain. However, the unsaved are out there, in the world. I am one of those people who would be happy to be in my little cabin in the middle of nowhere, quilting and blogging to my heart’s content. But how would I fulfill this command from the Lord if I were a hermit? Do I open my mouth when given the opportunity at the supermarket? Do I participate in outreach programs of the church? As my children grow and come to the knowledge of Him, I must show by example how to speak to someone of spiritual things. That happens outside of my little world. I have to go to where they are.
2 Tim. 4:2
This is a command not only for pastors and missionaries, but also for every Christian (Acts 8:4; Rom. 10:15). Preaching has the meaning of “heralding” or proclaiming the King’s message with authority. I am not to alter it in any way, just proclaim it. This action goes along with the last point. It does no good to proclaim the gospel where no one can hear it, so I must give the Message to those who need it.
Just Do It
So there are many times in Scripture when we need to stop what we are doing and just obey. We need to just pray, just preach, just go, just abstain, just rejoice, just be still. I can think of even more simple commands like “Quench not the spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19), or “Dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1), or “Stand fast” (1 Thess. 2:15; Phil 4:1; Eph. 6:14).
It’s as if at these points of our Bible reading that God reminds us to quit stalling and just do it. After all, “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe….Action is the key. Do it immediately. Joy you will receive!” Our heavenly Father chides us in His Word, will we respond?