By, Linda DeSilva
Monday’s headline article in the Royal Gazette highlighted the need for review, repair and/or replacement of equipment and services at a residential care home. As every home-owner knows, appliances, as well as infrastructure, need to be inspected and repaired or replaced on a regular basis. The sooner problems are discovered, the quicker and less expensive are the repairs. Letting things slide, hoping they will right themselves, is foolish, fruitless, and financially unwise.
This also applies to our spiritual lives. It is all too easy to get ‘stuck in a rut’ or to let prayer and Bible study slide, thus losing the enthusiasm and spiritual ‘glow’ that we experienced when we first came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The world, the flesh, and the devil will all provide enticing alternatives to prayer and Bible study. This is not new to the 21st Century, but it has escalated with the increase of so many entertainment, athletic, and other options to captivate our interest.
So, how may followers of Christ maintain the spiritual glow? Regular, prayerful self-examination is necessary; but it is even better if one has an ‘accountability partner’ – someone who will encourage and advise with utmost confidentiality and prayerful support. This is not a new idea. Barnabas encouraged Paul. Paul mentored his protégé Timothy (1 Thess. 3: 2; Romans 16: 21); Aquila and Priscilla were two other spiritual advisors (Acts 18: 26; Romans 16: 3; 1 Corinthians 16:19). We ALL need encouragers – and we ALL need to BE encouragers to those who are striving to follow Christ.
What about those who fail? Condemnation is not helpful. Failure does NOT have to be final. John Mark joined Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey, but later became discouraged and left the team. Later, John Mark and Paul reconciled and worked together. (See 2 Timothy 4:11.) Failure is never irredeemable in the Lord’s work. (See 1 John 1:9.) It may mean a change of focus and ministry, but the Lord has a work for everyone who is committed to serve Him, whenever or wherever!
To achieve maximum joy and usefulness in Christ’s service –
SPIRITUAL MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST:
Daily Prayer _ Bible Reading _
Church fellowship _ Shared my faith _