ROMANS 1:8-12 – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
THEME OF THE DAY. HOW IS YOUR APPETITE? No Christian strolls into heaven without doing significant spiritual battle against the world, flesh, and devil. We engage in combat daily and the two areas of greatest concentration by our foes are distraction and doubt. We know both well. Distraction from the Lord, His Word, prayer, and fellowship with His people is the chief work of the world and flesh against us. Just consider in the course of one day how many distractions, even with good things, bombard us. And where do distractions, if allowed, take us? Away from God’s Word, prayer, and spiritual fellowship with His people. When it comes to the devil, what is his chief tactic? The same one he used effectively against our first parents in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day; doubt – Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).
Yet, God has not left us without help in the spiritual battles we face. Against distractions, He provides His Spirit to build within us the necessary resolve, self-discipline, self-control and self-denial to say, “No” when distractions seek to pull us away from the most important thing in our lives – our walk with the Lord. And in the other area of doubt from the devil, God also provides many truths in His Word to conquer doubt and grant us assurance of our salvation and spiritual condition before Him. By the way, spend time in the New Testament book of 1 John. It is a book to gain assurance and offers much evidence validating genuine faith in Christ. But there is one truth running throughout the New Testament giving us assurance of our salvation and affirming a healthy walk with the Lord. It is our hunger and practice of fellowshipping with other believers around the Word, prayer, and service.
In today’s scripture, a sure sign of being a genuine Christian and walking close to the Lord is our love to be with other believers in the things of God. This desire for the company of God’s people is a strong weapon to defeat the devil’s fiery darts of doubt because it is a desire given at new birth. Think about it. Unbelievers don’t want the company of believers for spiritual things. Why? They share no common and eternal spiritual bond in Christ. Think about this also and do so seriously because it is serious. Professing only Christians don’t want to be in the company of spiritually-minded believers either. Oh, they can come to church on the Lord’s Day, but they arrive at the last minute and quickly depart after the benediction. There is no desire for spiritual investments around prayer, the Word, and gospel service with other believers. They simply lack the spiritual appetite for true Biblical Christianity which always points us to the development of spiritual relationships with other believers. But real Christians, spiritually alive Christians, have the heart of Paul in today’s scripture. They long for and seek other believers for mutual spiritual growth and encouragement.
So, what about us? How is our appetite for spiritual fellowship around the Word and prayer with other believers? If it is a true appetite, it will be satisfied. If it is weak or non-existent, we must seek the Lord for the reason for the lack. It is one of two things – we are not true Christians or we are backslidden true Christians. Spiritual appetite is always present in God’s healthy children.
PRAYER: “Father, deepen my hunger for fellowship with You and Your people; a hunger that leads to action to fulfill it.”
QUOTE: “A most affirming sign of good spiritual health is our appetite to be in the Presence of God with His people.”