The wet leaves made their soft crunch as I walked over them. The pitter-patter of light rain fell over the fog-coated woods while I made my way toward the source of the sound of running water. Slow breath filled the air and I breathed deep the smells of freedom and peace. Once I reach the flowing creek I removed my glove and dipped my hand into the icy water, slowly allowing my fingers to weave through the current.
Water: Something so simple yet so vital. You could fill your life with all other things shiny and new and satisfying, but if you neglected your water source all life would be lost. I am reminded of my own need. I thirst for the Living God in the way a sapling thirsts for streams to plant its roots. But all too often I purge myself of the Life Water I so desperately need.
The blur of activity constantly around me whizzes by and beckons my attention. Things that are good and god-given fight for my affections and soon I am wandering away from the stream that sustains me.
It’s so easy, isn’t it? These good things that are blessings in our lives begin to overrun our schedules and it doesn’t take long for the unintended apathy to creep in. We think, “I’ll sit down and pray as soon as I get this done”, but then comes the next thing and the next. Our culture implores us to stay busy and find our worth in the busyness. In fact, we take so much pride in this busyness that we brag about how busy we can be. Of course, we don’t call it busy; instead, we have renamed it productive and have traded in our true worth in Christ for some sort of worth we can create in a day planner or that calendar hanging on our fridge.
Maybe I sound old fashioned and in reading this you would be surprised to learn the author of these words is a mere 24 years young, but regardless of your thought toward me you cannot ignore the truth written here.
We are too busy.
The holiday season further proves my position. People rushing from party to party then from wish list to wish list, seeking to do all they can and more in order to drain all the pulp from the life of the holidays.
But this is not how we were created to live. Instead of rushing from one thing to the next our Creator made us to savor life and especially the life that is seasoned with Him. We should crave our Heavenly Father so greatly that our other interests look like hate compared to our desire for Him.
The Psalmist understood this desire when he penned, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV)
Jesus too discussed this desire we are to have for Him and how it should compare to our love for family. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, and even his own life – he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26 HCSB)
But how can we love Christ so fiercely when there are so many other things out there begging for our love and loyalties?
This, my friends, is a discipline. Jesus never asked us to love Him, nor did He ever beg for our devotion. Instead, he gave the Greatest Command and then described the costs of truly following Him and the reality of the wrecked life we will live if we choose to do so. Jesus knows the discipline it takes to live the life of a disciple.
The question is: do we desire Him enough to live out the discipline of faith?
Dear friends, I realize this writing is not one of “good cheer” and holiday bravado, but I ask you to prayerfully read over it and consider whether the life you live is one of difficult faith or a comfortable façade. I pray what I pray so often, for myself and for you, which is that you we would come to desire Christ over all other things. I pray the good things do not distract us or draw us away from the Perfect thing. I pray you recognize the emptiness of business and the satisfaction of savoring life in Christ. I pray your desire for Him grows so you too can say your soul pants for the Living God. I pray you truly know God as The Living God.