“Do not waste your time on empty debates and endless rabbit trails that steal you away from the lived experience of the Spirit of God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 17, 2022
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8, ESV
I grew up in a deeply religious culture. Whether home, church, or school, I was surrounded by people of faith. And yet, especially at my interdenominational Christian school, I quickly learned that not all Christians saw eye to eye on big questions of faith. I’ll never forget one particularly heated lunch room debate when I was in high school. While most “normal” kids would spend their lunches debating over the best music or sports teams, our table of aspiring adolescent theologians went head to head on the finer points of Calvinism and predestination, topics which we clearly had no business discussing, let alone debating with such unwavering confidence!
Of course, the great irony in all of this was that few if any of us had any prayer life of which to speak. I can at least with confidence say that was true of my own life with Christ at the time! The aim of this great debate was not a mutual deepening of our encounter of the uncreated life and light of God. No, it was simply to win, and to do so by showing the others the folly of their ways. And while this may be a uniquely juvenile story rooted in a somewhat unique subculture, there is a universal principle to which we must all be attentive.
There are countless distractions in the Christian life that threaten to derail us and distract us from our life with God. I recently heard a wise man asked an intentionally combative question about a specific religious belief, asked not with a sincere heart but posed simply to spark debate and even controversy. His response? “I don’t have time to discuss this with you…my God is waiting for me.”
When I heard it, I was immediately taken aback. My Southern American ears are not tuned to such direct and potentially abrasive language! And yet is there anything more true than what he said? Dear friends, do not waste your time on empty debates and endless rabbit trails that steal you away from the lived experience of the Spirit of God. One can have great knowledge about the Christian faith, and even engage others in the name of Christ, arguing for positions and beliefs that are worthy of praise and defense, yet entirely miss the point.
God is waiting for you. He longs to know you and be known by you. Do not waste your life on empty pursuits. Do not fill your days with religious noise or busyness that fills your head and empties your heart. Draw near that he may draw near to you.
Father, keep me from thinking about you or discussing things of faith in ways that separate me from the lived experience of your love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Keep this phrase on your heart and mind today, and let it lead you deeper into a life of abiding prayer: “God is waiting for me.”
1 Chronicles 16:10-11; Psalm 9:10; Colossians 3:1
Elle Limebear: Lord You Have My Heart
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