My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long. – Psalms 71:7-8
I have really been on this tear of reading books and listening to audiobooks. A few weeks ago, when I finally dropped the rest of my offense at the altar, it is like my empty and starved soul immediately cried out to be filled. I realized immediately that I had neglected so many important things that I used to take care of. I am so thankful that God has given me a hunger and thirst for righteousness and gives me assurance that I shall be filled. I am already beginning to feel spiritually healthy again.
One book God has used to bring me back to what really matters is “The Narrow Road.” It is the story of a man simply called, “Brother Andrew.” He was/is a Dutch missionary that constantly risked everything to bring Bibles to Christians in communist countries that didn’t have any. When the work got too great, he began to seek others to assist him with the work. God more than provided, but he also had this internal litmus test to determine if someone was fit for the work. Here is a paragraph that really stuck with me:
We insist on only two things from the men and women we accept as part-timers. We insist that each have a personal experience with Christ and learn to work in the full power of His Spirit. And we stress the importance of a positive ministry among the Communists. If a man seems to be harboring personal resentment against a certain government, or if he has more to say about the evils of communism than the goodness of God, then we suspect that he is a soldier poorly armed for the battle before us.
I don’t know if that messes with you like it does me. I have personal experience with Christ, that I do know, and I am still learning to work in the full power of His Spirit. But it is that last sentence that gets me, “If he has more to say about . . .” Does it really matter what comes after that? If a person speaks more about anything than the goodness of God, how good of a soldier can he or she be? There are people who speak of how terrible this world is more than the goodness of God. There are those who speak more of what is going on with college football than the goodness of God. What we speak of the most reveals what we care about the most.
I heard a testimony this weekend that I thought was wonderful. A lady stood and said she had grown up in church her whole life. However, the only things she ever liked to read was mystery novels and romance novels. She said she would read close to 200 books a year. After being convicted of constantly filling her mind with them for years and years, she simply said, “God, will You change me?” She said she began to read the Bible. She said she began to pick up spiritual books that talked about God. Now, she only wants to read about things that feed her spirit.
I think that illustrates the change all Christians should desire. I want Him to be the Lord of my life. I want to talk about Him more than I talk about anything else. When I was young, I mostly wanted to talk about music and concerts. Later, I mostly wanted to talk about golf. Later, I wanted to talk and read about money and investing. Now, and for the rest of my life . . . I want to talk about Him.
Lord, it is only by your power and your spirit that a person truly changes. You are the only one who can make old things pass away, and all things become new. Change me. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still. Whiter than snow Lord, wash me just now, as in Thy presence, humbly I bow. Fill me with Thy spirit, till all can see, Christ only always, living in me. Amen.