[Papercut Press] 2006-05-24 - Escargot Day

Philippians 3:14, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Before we get going today I would like to renew something that we have done from time to time here at Cfdevotionals. It is called the summer question series. This year Wednesday will be the slated day. It works like this: Send me your questions (GodrulesTB@aol.com), and I will do my best to answer them and turn them into a devotional. My thinking has been that if one person has the question, probably lots of others have the same one or a similar one.

These questions can be on any topic. There is no forbidden ground. Christian doctrine, relationship issues, struggles with indwelling sinful habits, depression, you name it. We have touched on them all before, and I look forward to seeing what is sent in this year. Please keep the questions as short as possible. I protect all names. If a name or location is used in the question, I will change it. I will not identify you in any way. I have never been able to get to all of the questions, but I promise all of them are important to me. The two main rules with submitting questions are to keep them as short as possible, and send them directly to me (GodrulesTB@aol.com). Thanks, and I can't wait to see where this takes us this year.

I know it must have snuck up upon us all, but it is here again. May 24 is Escargot day. Yes, they have a day for everything. You might even wonder what escargot is, and it is probably better to not know, but escargot is an edible snail. Crazy as it might seem, there might be some wisdom we can glean here.

It is easy to get discouraged in life. It is easy to get discouraged on this journey we call the Christian life. We go to a prayer meeting and feel like everybody prays "better" than we do. It is hard to go back again. We determine to read the Bible every day. We read six chapters the first, second, and third day, two on the fourth day, miss a day, six more chapters on the fifth day, and then a week goes by and the Bible is gathering dust again. It is discouraging, because we want to do better. Often our goals are lofty, but we lack the execution to achieve them.

This is where we can learn from the snail. The snail can't set lofty goals for itself. "On Thursday I will be in Nebraska," is a little unrealistic for the snail starting out in Toronto. But we are prone to the same unrealistic dreams in our spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. We want closeness to Christ in our prayers, and we want Bible knowledge to jump off the page into our heads and hearts, but it doesn't often come as quickly as we would wish.

The Christian life is a process, and often the slow discouraging process of three steps forward, two steps back. But we have as our goal communion with Christ in our fellowship with Him, and Christlikeness in our conduct. It is easy to forget that these will always be goals. We can always have deeper fellowship. We can always grow in our practice of Christian graces. Like the snail, we plod along and seek to reach the elusive Nebraska, knowing full well that we will only reach our goal when we are perfected with Christ in Glory. Here are a couple of suggestions for clinging to the battle of growth in grace, and seeking to move forward in our Christian life.

  1. In Prayer: Don't expect angelic choruses in response to your prayers. It is normal to feel like we are praying to space, but God's promise is spoken well through David in Psalm 4:3, "The Lord hears when I call to Him." We can know that the Lord hears our prayers and is pleased when we seek Him in prayer. God answers prayer, but not always as we might expect Him to do so, and sometimes He does not answer them as we had hoped He would.

  2. In Bible Study: Understand that you will spend the rest of your life seeking to understand God's word. Even those who spend their whole lives seeking to understand God's word still find something new in it. There are those who have the entire New Testament memorized in Greek, and yet still study God's word. One of the best ways to begin to really get a hold of what the Bible teaches is to memorize some portions of it. Scripture memory is a priceless endeavor.

  3. In Christian Conduct: Let's face it, we all sin. Remember that "sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God." Again, growth in our walk as followers of Christ is a process. It is greatly aided by the first two above, prayer and Bible study. One great writer once said, "Sin will either keep you from prayer, or prayer will keep you from sin." We all struggle with various propensities, but our goal is to seek the pure faith and conduct becoming a follower of such a matchless Savior.

For today, we will call these three the Trinity of the Christian life: Prayer, Scripture, and Practice. In all these areas, we seek to be growing up into a full knowledge of Christ and His will for our lives. Let one of these fall upon hard times, and the other two are right behind in sequence. Our goal is a faith that is persevering, and maybe that is the message for today: Press on (Philippians 3:14), and keep striving unto glory.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com