Throughout my life, I have noticed that there are periods when Christ seems to be at the forefront of things; and other times when I tend to put Him in the background as seemingly more important things take center stage. Now I know this is wrong, but for some reason, it doesn’t stop me from sometimes being arbitrary about the way I study Scripture, attend to my devotions, or for that matter, the way I treat other people.
As I look back across the years, there is no denying that I have been drawn closer to God, but it has not been a constant journey. I seem to encounter hills and valleys – times when I am on fire for the Lord, and other times when I have to slug it out to read the Bible. I feel vulnerable even writing these words, but in the spirit of honesty and authenticity, I am telling you the truth. And I suspect that there are others out there who feel the same way, but that is each person’s private matter to check themselves.
I know that my sincere desire is to have a closer walk with Christ. And I know that it is His desire as well. But my progress is hampered by my own inadequacies to stay disciplined and focused on a Christ centered life. Sometimes, the temptations of the world draw me in and the comforts of life temporarily replace the divine peace of a closer relationship with Christ.
I find hope in the words of Paul, who admits in Romans 7:21-25, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
In other words, Paul teaches us that even though we are supposed to draw ourselves closer to Christ each day, we fall short of our goal – and that is because of our sin nature. Paul battled this issue throughout life. But the hope is that as we mature in our relationship with Jesus Christ, we will become more like Him. And therein lies the encouragement we have.
John the Baptist was one of the first people to give us insight as to the best way to handle our relationship with Christ. In John 3:30, we are told, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
That’s great advice for us. My encouragement today is that you may continue in your journey; making Christ the center of your life. And don’t be discouraged if you have periods when you fail to grow closer to the Lord. Because He is right there, waiting for you, and trying to draw you closer to Him. And this progress will be evident in your relationships with other people as they see Christ in you. So, take heart, just like Paul – because Christ can, and will, rescue us. “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”