“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit at the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:1, 2 (NIV)
“I don’t care for those Christians who talk about God all the time” a friend of mine began to explain to me, “everything is God this and God that, it is too much!” she exclaimed.
“Shouldn’t God be a part of everything we do?” I responded knowing exactly the type of people she was talking about. I had always felt uncomfortable around what I call “Bible Thumpers”; those overly zealous Christians who if given the opportunity would “thump” you in the head with the Bible to get your attention.
“I believe in God” she began, “I pray to God and I know that He is part of me, but it does not say in the Bible that God has to be on my every word or action.”
I took a deep breath and prayed silently as I slowly exhaled; contemplating whether or not the ensuing theological battle was worth it or not. I could relate with my friend; there was a time when I thought exactly as she thought, and though I was not the “Bible Thumper” she was referring to she knew that I was the very type of person she did not “care for.”
“Blessed is the man” I just could not help myself but engaging in theological battles with seekers had become like a hobby of mine. “who delights in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” I was not a biblical scholar by any stretch of the word, but as I matured as a Christian or became Hyperspiritual, as I like to call it, I found that I hungered for the Word, I “delighted” in it; I needed to consume as much of it as I could and likewise it (the Word) needed to be consumed.
“That does not mean that I have to talk about God all the time!” Her tone added emphasis to the exclamation point as she defiantly stood behind her beliefs. “This is meant for those of you who “delight in the law.” My right eyebrow rose as she continued, “I read the Bible when I can. I just don’t carry it around and have it open all the time.”
“Defensive people really need to stop and think before they open their mouths” I thought to myself as she concluded her argument. It is difficult to see the “big picture” when you are so focused on being right. I lifted my other eyebrow as well as the corners of my mouth as I stared lovingly into her big, brown eyes. She had just given me enough ammunition to not only win this battle, but enough to triumphantly end the war. This desire to keep God neatly packed away in a box was the problem with Christianity. The idea that to “delight in the law” was something God only meant for the “special Christians” and not the desire of every Christian is a laughable concept to me; but I had to be gentle with my friend I remembered a time when I believed as she believed, when I was as defiant and as sure of my Christianity as she was.
“OK”, I began, “you got me. That scripture is only for those who want to be blessed.” There was an intentional hint of sarcasm in my response, but she could not pick up on it because she had raised the walls up around her.
“Have you ever read the back of the insert that came with the cross you are wearing?” I make handmade horseshoe cross necklaces as a side business; I don’t make millions, but I have fun making the necklaces for people and they help to promote my ministry. The hope of the necklaces was that the wearer would be reminded to Stop2Pray (the name of the business) for a particular person, group, or need and would be reminded to take a second to pray to God. On the back of the insert is the passage I Thessalonians 5:17. “It says that we are to “pray without ceasing” or to always be in contact with God.” I fired a single shot at her high, reinforced wall.
I realized as she looked at me in confusion that my fears about my advertising and marketing attempts were true; nobody even looked at the inserts. My friend had never even heard or read that passage of scripture before and yet it came with every cross I ever sold. “That does not mean all the time!” Again with the exclamation mark; one could hear her assuredness in the emphasis she added to her statement. “I pray to God every day, but not all the time. He knows I believe in Him.”
‘“Without ceasing” means to not stop.” I fired another shot.
“It does not mean all the time.” She shot back.
The exchange of fire went on for a couple more minutes, but neither of us were gaining any ground. Her logic made perfect sense to her and mine made perfect sense to me. I conceded the battle because I could not make any headway against the flesh reinforced walls she had built up around her; unfortunately she could look everywhere around her and see that her beliefs were right on with the people she surrounded herself with which only strengthened her argument. “Doesn’t God deserve our everything all the time?” I softly ended my volley and conceded the battle. I did not concede because I had been defeated, I conceded because I knew that I had secretly embedded a “seed bomb” into the very heart of her being. She had been exposed to the truth and it lay dormant within the fortress she had built up around her. All I needed to do was pray that the bomb would one day go off within her; I had done my job and left the rest to God.
Anybody can claim to be a Christian. I tell the story about how I had always considered myself a Christian; I could say the appropriate words at the appropriate time, I knew when I needed to stand and when I needed to sit down in church, I folded my hands and bowed my head when it was time to pray, I hadn’t killed anybody, stolen from anybody, I never kicked the dog; and I put a check in the box next to the word Christian when asked about my religious preference, but it was not until I started to “become a little Hyperspiritual or something” that I realized that it had all been lip service. My bark was much worse than my bite ever was. My Christianity consisted of continual comparison to those around me and all I needed to do was maintain the status quo of which I did a pretty good job at.
It was not until I had been humbled by God that I realized that my Christianity was a joke; I realized that it was all about me looking good and smelling good and that it had very little to do with God. Ten years ago I lost everything; my well paying job, my cars, my retirement, my house, and eventually my wife. I found myself looking up out of the hole I had dug for myself; anxious, depressed, and desperate. There was no way out but up and I could not get a foothold or finger hold on the sheer, smooth, endless walls that would remove me from this cold, empty, dark, and damp pit I had fallen into. Out of sheer exhaustion from my constant attempts to pull myself out of this pit I found myself on my knees and my only inclination was to begin to pray.
God in His infinite grace and mercy pulled me out of that pit that day. My life was no longer about me, but about Him who rescued me out of my darkest season. I understood what King David meant when he said, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God.” – Psalm 42:1, 2. I began to “delight in the law of God” and to “meditate” on it and study it. I learned to “pray without ceasing” because it was my desire to speak with my Father constantly. I had let God out of the box I had placed Him in and allowed Him to rule my life. I admit that I sometimes tarry around that pit I was pulled out of; I stupidly teeter on the edge of the opening with one leg and hang from the lip with my finger tips, but quickly step away as I look to the Bible and pray to my Father without ceasing.
My prayer for my friend is that God detonates the “seed bomb” before she reaches the bottom of her pit. These verses and many more throughout the Bible reveals to the Christian that God desires, demands all of our lives not just the part we feel comfortable giving. We can never be truly blessed (happy) until we turn our lives totally over to God and begin to “delight in His law” and “meditate on it day and night.” We will never know true peace until we train ourselves to “pray without ceasing” for this keeps us in His presence. His words are more than suggestions; they are His demands. It has to be “All God All the Time.”