Pastor Dick Hester, Lebanon Baptist Church in Roswell, GA
Milk the cows!
God wants to be wanted, and a casual, half-hearted attempt at seeking Him will not work. There are dozens of commands in the Bible to seek the Lord, and many promises for those who do. Let me paraphrase a few: “...and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul...Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually...When You said, ‘Seek My Face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your Face, O Lord, I shall seek.’”
If you are going to choose to actively seek the Lord, where would you look and how would you do it? I believe the place to go is intense personal prayer and purposeful corporate prayer, with an agenda or a strong desire of asking God to meet with you. God promises that He will be present in these prayer encounters. Psalm 16:11 says, “...In Your presence is fulness of joy.” God’s promise is that “if we seek Him, we will find Him and, if we will draw near to Him, He will draw near to us”. We must draw near to Him to really experience Him--as if we took a trip to heaven and saw Him and heard Him!
Have you ever lost something that was very important, and you could not find it even as you desperately looked for it? My wife and I lost our passports, which we knew we had to have to go on a ministry trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo. The plane tickets had been bought and we were leaving in 2 days, when we discovered our passports were not in the place where we always kept them. This was crazy! We did find them after much searching and frantically racking our brains, trying to remember where they could be.
God tells us in His Word that if we would seek wisdom we would find it, but only if our seeking is “with our whole heart”--not casually. I think that casually or lazily seeking wisdom from the Lord in prayer is a subtle indicator that we think we can really do it on our own; while we would never say “I don’t need God for this; I can figure it out,” that’s actually what we’re saying if we’re not praying earnestly. But then comes the situation that pushes us into a corner, and we have no clue what to do or say . . . then we're desperately seeking God’s wisdom in prayer. Wouldn’t it be so much better if our seeking the Lord was an every day attitude of humility, of understanding our desperate need, and a faithful discipline of prayer--daily, at least!
I don't think dairy farmers ever say, “What do you think? Shall we milk the cows today?” They always milk the cows every day. It is a discipline. One of the foundational spiritual disciplines is spending time with God in prayer daily--examining our lives and confessing all known sin to Him, and reviewing the day and thanking God for all that He gave us strength to do. This ought to be a daily duty. It is easy to become undisciplined in doing the basics every day...every day...every day... Once a single day is missed it’s easier to miss another day...and another...and another, and soon you have backslidden away from God, Who is our Nourishment for spiritual growth. Our peace, strength, and joy are gone and we begin to struggle in relationships. You always milk the cows, and you always do the basic disciplines. In making the basic spiritual disciplines a daily “duty”, some would use the word, “legalism”. If a farmer was haphazard in milking his cows we would call him lazy, irresponsible, even stupid; soon we’d also call him bankrupt. A Christian who is faithful in the spiritual basics is wise, committed, and very blessed of God!
I take Insulin twice a day for my diabetes to control my sugar; it is effective in keeping this disease in check. Those are a part of my routines which I must never miss, and no one calls those legalistic or being too rigid and inflexible. They are routines which are essential in my life now and it is just wise. So when we jump from physical health disciplines to spiritually being faithful, regimented, and diligent, why call it “legalistic”? Those of us who love Jesus with all our hearts and don't want to backslide from Him (and know how easy it is to do that) are disciplined in the basic foundation of prayer...every day...every day...every day. They milk the cows!
*If RSS feed is not working for you, please add it to your app or software manually by adding this url:
The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.