Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

There Is No Excuse

JAMES 4:8 – Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

THEME OF THE DAY. THERE IS NO EXCUSE. You know the experience. We either read it in a book, heard it in a sermon or conversation, or saw it posted somewhere. This “it” is a quote or saying impacting us significantly and just never goes away, even with the passing of time. We likely have more than one, but I share one from my own life. I came across this many years ago. Very few days pass without these words coming to mind and challenging me. It reads, “You are as close to the Lord as you choose to be.”

Pause and evaluate your life. Not a Christian alive doesn’t know by painful experience the challenge of maintaining a close and consistent walk with the Lord Jesus. We have great spiritual foes in the devil, the world, and our remaining sinful flesh constantly hounding us with the goal to draw us away from the Lord. It is a daily battle requiring daily attention. Yet, there is something we simply must come to grips with if we want to “get over the top” in the climb to develop and maintain a vibrant abiding life in the Lord Jesus.

If I were able to “corner” each of you with the question, “What is the most difficult thing you face in daily being with the Lord in prayer and His Word to be close to Him and enjoy Him?” what would you tell me? For many Christians, I believe I would hear, “I just don’t have the time. There is so much demanding my time with responsibilities in my family, on my job, with my church, and other obligations, I cannot find the time to be consistently in the Word and prayer.” Okay . . . now don’t unsubscribe to the nugget with what I am about to share. Nor get defensive and delete me. I am with you. Or I should say, “I was with you” if you are a person using the “no time” excuse when it comes to developing your spiritual life. Between family, sermon preps, writing, caring for people, counseling, and a host of other things in my life, I used to say, “I just don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything and still have unhurried, undistracted, and unhindered time with the Lord in His Word and prayer. No more. And I urge you, if you are using the “no time” excuse, stop. Now. Today. It isn’t valid. Nor does it pass the scrutiny with the Lord who knows our hearts.

When it comes to the spiritual life of a believer, everything rises and falls on two things. First, desire for the Lord followed by the self-discipline to seek the Lord. We cannot say, “I don’t have time” when the history of Christians, past and present, give irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Whose life was more full and demanding than the Lord Jesus’? No one, yet, we find in scripture He regularly pulled away from life’s demands to be with His Father in prayer – And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed (Mark 1:35). Well, that was Jesus, God in the flesh, right? Okay. What about the Apostle Paul? Full life. Many demands. Overwhelming schedule. Yet, he would say, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul kept the main thing the main thing in his life – pursuing personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus. And so must we. It is why we are saved and why we exist.

Friends, getting close to the Lord is never a time issue. It is a heart issue. If we really want to know the Lord, we will seek the Lord. We will take the desire for Him and turn it to self-discipline to seek Him. Let’s no longer live convincing ourselves we have no time to seek the Lord. It isn’t true. We will give the time over to achieve what is most important to us.

PRAYER: “Father, help me daily make the wise decision to draw near to You and not the foolish one of neglecting You.”

QUOTE: “I don’t have time’ when it comes to seeking the Lord is never a time issue. It is a heart’s desire issue.”