2nd Passage for Study: Devotional focus on Galatians 1: 1 – 11 … Galatians 1 linked for study …
My Journal for Today: It’s a little obscure to see why the text to which Swindoll refers us today fits his devotional message, which is to “Slow down!” But the message of Paul to the church of Galatia actually is more the result of Paul’s post-conversion time alone in Arabia than it was a description of those times in solitude where the former Saul of Tarsus really became the Apostle Paul, …the man we would read about in the New Testament and the man who could preach a message like that we read of in the first chapter of Galatians.
Actually I think that the message of Ephesians 5: 15 – 16, to which I’m linking you here fits the message of Chuck Swindoll this morning a little better. Because what Swindoll is pitching is how the rabid anti-Christian, Saul, became the Christian zealot, Paul; and that was by separating himself from his former world and using the discipline of solitude and priority focus on Christ to let God, the Holy Spirit, do business with his soul. And that’s Swindoll’s message today … for us to slow down and take our focus off of the world and get it onto Jesus.
Swindoll posits that it’s hard these days, in these “evil days” to which Eph. 5: 16 refers, to keep God’s priorities straight. Oh how our enemy, Satan, and his informationally loaded world, works on us is to get us to react to the demands of these “evil times” and to get us caught up in the world of multi-tasking, taking our eyes off of Jesus and the priorities He desires for us, … the desires He commands for us, … which are documented in Luke 9: 23, which is a verse I truly hope you have internalized by now.
How can we deny our selves and follow Christ when we’re overloaded with worldly demands and even with church-related stuff. That’s what apparently had happened to the Galatians as Paul wrote to them about getting side-tracked by false messages and false doctrines (see Gal. 1: 6-7). And Paul was trying to get these dear Christians to stop, refocus, and get their priorities straight.
Swindoll proposes that we seriously prioritize some time on a periodic basis to get alone and refocus our lives on Christ and His will and direction for our lives. And that is a message of the chorus of that great Christian hymn which I so often use to refocus my life. Here it is; and if you’ve been following me in this past year, you’ve read me quote this one … many times: …
Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of this world will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
And my friend we cannot do that if were on overload from the world, … if Satan has us bound up in so many good things that we can’t see what is God’s best for us, … if we have succumbed to the “tyranny of the urgent.” I’m actually tougher than is Swindoll about this point. I think you can’t just take what he is proposing as periodic, chosen times of solitude and focus to accomplish what God proposed in the BIG 10”] [yes, I mean the 10 Commandments] … and that is to have times of Sabbath on a regular basis. I maintain that in order to be able to fulfill Paul’s command in Eph. 5 to prioritize the things of God in our lives, we need a time of solitude or Sabbath in our lives EVERY DAY. And I propose that this should be a time in the morning, one like I’m investing right now, to get alone, … quietly, with God …and to seek His mind through His word and in prayer to fulfill the purpose of the hymn I quoted above.
Do you have such a time each day, my friend? I pray that you do. And don’t be deluded to think that the enemy will not do all he can to divert and to discourage you from have a daily Sabbath where you get alone with God for some chosen quiet time and to seek His will and His way for your life. But I’m telling you, … from experience, … nothing will help protect your Christian priority focus, as is commanded in Eph. 5: 15-16, any better than the discipline of daily devotional focus on Christ. Let me pray that for us, my friend.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, God, … You are the focus of our lives; but we need to decide to seek that with our daily quiet times with you. Help to protect us as we choose to seek Your mind and Your priorities for our lives by spending time with You ever day in Your word. Amen