There is always time to do what we truly want to do.
Occasionally, as my wife will testify, I have been known to rouse myself from sleep in the wee hours of the morning – not to pray or seek the Lord I am ashamed to confess – but to watch a game of football (soccer) that is being telecasted ‘live’ from the UK or somewhere in Europe to where I am based here in Bangkok, Thailand.
This takes determination and preparedness. I set the alarm, get up, make a cup of coffee and follow the game excited and wide awake, while all else in the house and around is quiet and dark.
All because I want to.
But ask me to do some other thing or stay up for some other event, and I may decline and claim I am too busy or simply don’t have the time.
We make time for the things that are most important to us.
What about the things of God? Any sane Christian will confess the highest place and priority of God in our lives. We sing lustily and wax lyrical about our love for him, like a fawning Peter before his tragic night of self-preserving denials.
No wonder A.W. Tozer once remarked, ‘Christians don’t lie – they just go to church and sing them!’
How often though we let other priorities and concerns hustle, steal away and hinder us from pursuing Jesus’ call and obeying His clear commands.
We live in an intrusive world brimming with distraction and temptation. A technological, sensual age provides rich soil for building a life based on convenience, self-concern and instant gratification.
We are also busy with so many things. Who among us have not been so occupied with temporary and urgent concerns as to put off till some further day, ultimate matters and that still small Voice?
We put off till tomorrow what He has called us to attend to today.
This is a prime tactic of the devil – to make us complacent and compromising towards the high cost and calling of being Kingdom-seeking disciples of Jesus.
There is an apocryphal story of a meeting in hell between the devil and 4 of his leading demons. They were discussing the best strategy to draw people away from God.
The first demon suggested denying the existence of God. Satan insisted that people who look at creation will find ample proof for God’s existence in the wonder, order and design of the universe.
The next demon suggested convincing people there was no heaven. Again, Satan suggested that most people have a suspicion and inner sense they cannot shake off that there must be life after death. They also have a longing for a place like heaven.
The third demon suggested that they convince people there is no hell. Satan countered that God has given every human being a conscience that tells them their sins will be judged. ‘We need a better lie’ said the devil.
The final demon said, ‘I’ve got it. We’ll just convince people there is no hurry.’
Complacency easily breeds a procrastinating proxy-faith of comfort and self-gratification and makes barren the womb of obedient acts.
Jesus once said to a dithering would-be disciple: ‘‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62)
That surely is the cure – the stark, unrelenting demand of God’s truth and claim upon us that will not let us have our easy way out at the expense of His glory, plan and purpose.
May God make us disciples who hear and obey without question or delay.
‘Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’ (Hebrews 3:15).