I’m honored to welcome my friend, author Poppy Smith, to the blog today. Poppy gives us a glimpse into what it looks like to not only learn God’s Word by to also strive to apply God’s Word!
A couple of weeks ago I went for an hour’s walk, determined to not only exercise my “temple” but also my brain. I decided to memorize what the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24 and consider how I could apply God’s Word to my life.
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
As I mulled over each part of this verse, heart-probing questions filled my mind.
Four questions I wrestled with:
- Do I really consider my life worth nothing to me? Or do I want and go after what pleases me?
- Am I still eager to finish the race, or am I being side-tracked and enticed to take it easy?
- Do I know what task the Lord Jesus has given me? Am I taking it seriously? Do I sincerely long to complete what He uniquely designed for me to do? (Eph:2:10)
- Am I testifying to the gospel of God’s grace in the ways God has equipped and called me? At home with family, through words, hospitality, generosity, acts of kindness, staying in touch with unbelieving relatives and friends?
Spending an hour with these questions and asking the Holy Spirit to search my heart unveiled a lot of stuff I needed to acknowledge. But you know, and I know, that merely acknowledging our failings with humble repentance is not the end goal of times like this. God wants us to make changes—otherwise our repentance is merely sentimentality.
Keep Going. Don’t Stop.
To further emphasize His point that we are called to complete the tasks He has for us, God declares through Paul:
“Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).
I need that message every day. My mind needs challenging when I dwell on the obstacles, pressures, stressors, and negatives. It needs reminding that inertia, laziness, self-indulgence, and faithlessness is not the way of Jesus nor of His followers.
Paul challenges us to “run the Christian life with focus, train, compete with passion, fight with purpose, master the flesh, and work to receive an eternal reward” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Leadership Bible).
Are you challenged by these verses? Are you convicted as you look at your priorities? Will you take time to pray over what the Spirit is saying to you about your view of living the Christian life?
I’m glad God’s Spirit is “working me over,” speaking to me through numerous Scriptures, prayer, and other books that challenge me to live fully for Him.
Do you need to ask Him to work a changed heart and perspective in you, too? What perspective of yours doesn’t line up with God’s?
Poppy Smith is funny, warm, and passionate about helping women grow spiritually and personally through her speaking and writing ministry. She is a former BSF teacher and has a Masters in Spiritual Formation. Her most recent book is “Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?” For more information, visit PoppySmith.com. Connect with Poppy on Facebook and Twitter.