When I was in bible college in Chicago, I interviewed at a few different churches to become a youth pastor. None of them ever worked out, but along my journey of going to these various churches, I got the privilege of meeting one of the coolest ladies. It was a one time, chance encounter that left a huge impression on my soul. If you asked me her name, I couldn’t tell you. If you asked me what she looked like, I could somewhat describe her, but if you asked me what she was committed to, then I would have no problem. Because this woman was dedicated to prayer in a way I’m not sure I had seen before.
After my interview was over, this lady pulls out a full sized notebook that looks heavily worn and well used. She then began to turn the pages until finally she found a page that had no writing on it, and she asks me, “How can I pray for you?” By this point I was completely blown away. This woman’s dedication to prayer was unparalleled with anything I had ever seen. I told her my prayer request, and then I asked her if I could ask some questions about the notebook. Of course she obliged, and answered all of my questions. I started to ask what exactly was that notebook, she proceeded to tell me that she prayed through these prayers every single day, and when something got answered she put a date beside it. She couldn’t even remember how many notebooks she had gathered over the years.
This woman was committed for the long haul to pray for anyone one and everyone she ever came in contact with. When Eugene Peterson wrote his book “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”, I believe this is exactly what he had in mind. I can’t even fathom how many answered prayers and miracles that woman saw throughout her years of prayer. She had a front row seat to the mighty power of God. I want that for my life, and I want that for your life.
The more committed and consistent we are to “Long Term Obedience” the more we get a front row seat to the mighty workings of God in our lives. The challenge is that we live in a society that is filled with the need for instant satisfaction and results. This is why you get constantly frustrated at fast food places when it takes too long to bring your food. We want what we want and we want it now. That same mindset trickles over into our spiritual lives. We want change, now! We want go to answer our prayers, now! We want to have all the Bible knowledge we need, now! In a society constantly disappointed by the immediate results, we need to spiritually revisit long term faithfulness. We need crock pot spirituality in a microwave world.
“We need crock pot spirituality in a microwave world.”
Let’s take a look at three ways you can crock pot your spiritual life and in the process revisit long term faithfulness.
Start Building Spiritual Disciplines into the Rhythm of your Life.
We all have a routine. Most days look very similar even if you travel. You start your day by brushing your teeth, checking social media, responding to emails, getting the kids ready, or whatever else you need to do, and then at night there is a routine as well. In order to commit to long term faithfulness, you need to build spiritual disciplines (read your bible, pray, journal) into the rhythm of your life. Eventually it becomes like brushing your teeth in the morning, you just do it.
2. Stop Expecting Immediate Results.
When you work out, you don’t expect your body shape to change in a week. When you diet, you don’t expect to reach your goal weight in just a month. It takes time to yield the results you fully want to see. The exact same thing is true with our spiritual life. The move of God rarely happens after one prayer or one bible reading. God could show up after one of those things, but most often it is through the long term commitment where God shows his greatest work. If you save money after one paycheck, you will have a little bit of savings, but if you save 10% of your paycheck for 40 years your account will be busting at the seams. Each time we are faithful and committed to long term obedience, we are putting another deposit in our spiritual bank.
3. Don’t Give Up
Being obedient to God and faithful to spiritual disciplines is easy at first, but over time it can become extremely difficult to keep yourself motivated. I can completely understand that. I have days myself where I feel like I would just rather not. When that happens it makes me think of something that I heard over and over growing up. “You can tell a lot about the spiritual depth of a person by how worn their Bible is.” I want to be the person who has a well worn Bible with a spiritual life that shows because of it. Let’s commit together to doing something that might not show any results right now, but in years to come our spiritual training will pay off by us getting to see the faithful mighty hand of God move in our heart and lives.
Pastor Chris Weatherly
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