This is from my brother! (The guinea pig is not his.) He and his wife Christy are missionaries in Russia under the care and supervision of Northwest Yearly Meeting. They are, as I post this, writing for the Daily Journal on Barclay Press' website. This is one of their entries. Barclay Press is the publishing arm of Evangelical Friends International. (That's enough links to keep you busy for awhile...now for the message.)
A couple weeks ago, my brother, Mike, recommended that I read a book called The Slumber of Christianity by Ted Dekker. Although we don’t have a Christian bookstore that would carry such a book, I was able to find an audio version of the book online, so I downloaded it immediately. I listened to the book on the many recent train rides to and from Moscow until it was finished. It was a great book in every way . . . except that it’s now stirring a change within me that makes me uncomfortable. It’s a good kind of change, but a change nonetheless. Change almost always causes at least some discomfort, even if it is a desired change.
Ted Dekker encourages us to look at everything in the light of eternity. This has helped me to see the futility of some of my activities. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I have a habit that I often take too far, watching movies. I thoroughly enjoy escaping to another world for a couple hours at a time before returning to the real world. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying that I suddenly think watching movies is a sin, but if given a choice, I’d rather watch a movie than study Russian or clean the toilet or even go to bed. For me, watching movies can sometimes hinder me from devoting myself to things that could improve my ability to minister, something that matters far more in the light of eternity than a couple hours of personal enjoyment.
Paul often refers to faith as running a race. Thus, yesterday’s second verse, I Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” I’ve been asking myself a tough question: “What is the goal of my life and faith?” Isn’t it all about eternity, heaven? Isn’t that the prize? Paul was concerned about being disqualified (I Corinthians 9:27), so why shouldn’t I? Therefore, I MUST “throw off everything that hinders” (Hebrews 12:1). That’s not comfortable, but it’s wonderful that, in spite of my tendency toward the things of this world, God is still not finished with me yet. He loves me so much, beyond my wildest imagination!
Guest Blogger, Patrick (I just had to add another link!)