Those of you that know me know that I usually like to run. At times, I have run a lot - like when I am training for a particular distance race. When I have done that, I will get up early and hit the road. It won't matter what time of day it is, what the weather is like, or what else I have going on that day...I will find time to get my run in. And then there are days like now, where I have been in a slump and haven't run once this WHOLE YEAR!
I will eventually get back to it, but for now, I have been focusing on other things each morning. I've been sleeping better, so my days are more productive. I've been praying more, because we face spiritual battles every day that can only be one with His Power. And I've been reading my Bible more, so that I start each day off right. Even though I have slacked off on the physical training, the spiritual training is still going!
This past week, we started a new sermon series here at HighPoint Church called "You in 5", where Pastor Jack will be spending time each week challenging us to think about where will our life be in 5 years. He started off with a passage where the seasoned veteran pastor (Paul) reaches out to train his young protege (Timothy) on how to lead people spiritually. He said a lot and said it well, but we just focused on two verses this week:
"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be Godly. For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for this present life and the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
The day after hearing this sermon, some friends called with bad news - they were having to move unexpectedly. They were frustrated at this news and didn't know where to turn. Being a pastor, I lovingly counseled them to turn to the Lord. If you're thinking this sounds cliche, you might be right - until you look deeper into it. All throughout chapter 4, Paul has been talking about people who go their own way - they abandon the faith, they follow deceiving spirits, they listen to liars, and they forbid people to do things God intended for them to do. And then Paul says "if you point out these things, you will be good minister of Christ Jesus...".
So that's what I told my friends to do. I told them to ask God which direction they should go, wait for Him to answer, and then go that direction. I also told them they could reject this wisdom and do their own thing, and that every person who wants to follow God must come to this crossroads. But when we arrive at this place, we must choose to walk the way God tells us.
Maybe that's a great place for each of us to start at this week. This week, spend some time in prayer. Pray and ask God which direction He wants you to go in the situations you face, and then go that direction. Pray for other people here who need to make the same decision, and please include my friends in that. Pray for God to protect them from being enticed by the world's offerings and then pray for God to provide for them. Finally, pray that they would come back to Him and praise Him for the great things He has done.
I believe that if we will focus on what Paul said, we will learn some things that will keep us back on track spiritually and help us survive any slump that comes our way this year. Now if He could just help me get back to running...