walk in the word
“This is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” 1 John 4:5
Remember chemistry class? Did you ever do a “litmus test”? You get this little paper and by dipping it in different solutions you can tell what kind of solution it is, acidic or base, based on the color that it turns. A “litmus” has come to refer to any failsafe, proof-positive, incontrovertible evidence kind of test.
So what is the litmus test to determine the genuineness of your spiritual life? What test could determine the vitality of your walk with Christ?
Some people would say, “It’s Bible knowledge. If you really know the Bible, then you’re going to have a vital spiritual life.” Wrong. I’ve known lots of people that know tons of things about the Bible, but their hearts aren’t on fire for God.
Some people would say, “It’s character; it’s the way you live. If you do what’s right, then you must have a vital relationship with God.” Buzz. You probably know people who don’t even have a relationship with the Lord who live better than some Christians. You don’t have to be vitally connected to Christ to do right things.
Some would say, “It’s service. People who are really serving Christ are vitally connected to Christ .” I think we’ve all served the Lord in our own strength, so that’s not it either.
Here’s the answer: it’s prayer. The quality of your personal prayer relationship with God is the litmus test for the vitality of your spiritual life. As nice as it would be to pretend that we’re all where we need to be spiritually, isn’t it even better to find out where you really are and then purpose to get to a better place?
Prayer is the true litmus test because you can’t show off in prayer. There’s no pretending. You can go to church, go through motions and do all kinds of “religious” things, but nobody ever goes into their bedroom, closes the doors, and gets on their knees to pretend. Why? Because alone in your room you only have an audience of One. It’s just you and God and there’s no fooling Him!
Prayer is the truest test of our genuine heart for the Lord.
Christ was intense about this. He said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” (Mark 11:17) Think of all the words He could have said there—a house of preaching or worship or good deeds. But He said “prayer” as a euphemism for all of the ways that we vitally and genuinely connect with God.
Now I’ve heard people voice a lot of frustration about the whole prayer thing. They know what we’re talking about here is true, but they also know they’re not passing the litmus test. Can you relate to these common prayer complaints?
Some people say: “I can’t think of enough stuff to pray about. I get alone with the Lord and I go through two or three things, like, ‘Bless Aunt Martha’ and ‘Help me at work today,’ and I run out of things to pray about.” That’s a common problem. So how do you remember all the things to buy at the grocery store? Make a list! Same for prayer. At the top of a page, put “Some things I want to pray about,” and write down some names and situations. You can put Walk in the Word on that list any time you want, all right? Then go to prayer. This will help you focus.
Others may say, “My problem is that I’ll be praying and then my mind wanders.” Like, “Lord, please help Jane today.” Oh yeah, Jane . . . Jane, she’s got a lot of problems… and then your mind goes off. Here’s help: try praying out loud. Remember God is in the room with you. Just talk to Him. You’ll find a lot easier to stay focused.
You say, “Well my thing is that I begin to pray and then I start to doubt.” That’s where the enemy attacks me. I’m like, “This isn’t going anywhere,” and I find my heart fills with doubt. I share that with you to alleviate your guilt if you’ve experienced that. But here’s the key when that happens: get plugged into the power source of prayer.
The power of prayerfulness is faith. Faith is the power of a vibrant spiritual life. This is all through the Bible. “ Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:1).Faith was the magnet that drew Moses away from the pleasures of Egypt.
Faith was the means of Abraham’s justification.
Faith was the force that overthrew Jericho’s wall.
Faith was the secret behind Ruth’s stirring confession.
Faith is the weapon that killed Goliath.
Faith is the deciding factor in Elijah’s victory on Mt. Carmel.
Faith is the shield that protected Job in the midst of his trials.
Faith was the muzzle the closed the mouth of Daniel’s lions.
Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4). If you want to fire up your personal, private prayer life, the key is faith. We’ve talked about this before: Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, no matter how I feel, because God promises a good result.
Do you need to revitalize your spiritual life through prayer? Have you sensed a growing hardness and distance from the Lord, or need to bring some particular burden before Him that you’ve been carrying around on your own? The answer is prayer. You and God—alone. Pour out your heart to Him in faith. If the Lord is talking to you about this, don’t wait another moment.
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