Every Monday we’ll post something about maintaining your sexual integrity. Hope it helps.
The Critical Structure
Where there’s sin, there’s chaos. That’s the nature of sin – it confuses everything and everybody it touches.
When there’s reformation in the Church, there’s a return to the basics (the authority of the Bible, the need for prayer, the value of worship) and the establishing of order. Likewise, if you’re getting serious about your purity, then you’re also in a personal reformation. That means you, too, need the order that comes with the basics.
You establish Order by incorporating some new habits on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. That’s a lifestyle change, and without it, you can’t hope to be consistent. The lifestyle change I’m proposing is pretty simple, and I think you’ll find that, once you’ve incorporated it, it doesn’t require much beyond simple planning and moderate effort. All that goes into the discipline of a consistent, thriving devotional life.
Let’s define “devotional time” as being a time of consistent and focused separation to God. It’s a time set apart daily for hearing from Him through the Scripture, and communicating with Him in prayer. This is vital to any believer; it’s doubly so to you.
Remember, the first and great commandment is not to abstain from fornication –serious as that is –but rather, it’s to love God wholeheartedly and unreservedly. Out of that love comes obedience, the sort Jesus described when He said:
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Now, you can’t love someone you’re not intimate with, and let’s make no mistake about this: plenty of men have a relationship with God, but not much intimacy with Him. They spend little if any time privately with Him, and while they live a somewhat Christian lifestyle, they lack the vibrant, growing intimacy with Christ that marks a true disciple.
Don’t let that be said of you. To know Him is to love Him, and there’s the secret. Apply yourself daily to knowing God through your devotional life, and you will, indeed, grow in your love for Him.
Knowing Him means, first, hearing from Him. There are many ways to hear from God: creation speaks of Him, He communicates through people and events, and there’s always that still small voice within. But all of these can be misinterpreted, and it’s unbridled foolish and risky to rely on any of these as your primary way of hearing from God.
It’s the Bible that’s inspired and infallible, so it’s through the Bible that we can be certain we’re hearing from God. That means today, and for the rest of your life, you’ve got to be a man of the Word. Apart from it, you’ll never grow closer to Him.
But you may not be in the habit of daily Bible reading, Maybe you’ve shied away from it because you felt it would take more time that you have, or that, to really “do it right”, you had to read at least five chapters a day. Not so – it’s the consistency of Bible reading that matters more than the volume. So if you read one chapter of the Bible daily, that will do you more good than occasionally reading several chapters, and then going for days or weeks without reading Scripture at all. So it’s consistency, not volume, we’re looking for.
One chapter a day will take you about five minutes. If you’re just starting to pick up the Bible again, let me suggest you start with the Gospel of John to get a good overview of Christ’s life and ministry. Then move on to Romans in the New Testament for a terrific overview of our position in Christ and the responsibilities that come with it, then back to the Old Testament Proverbs for a wonderfully black and white, practical blueprint for success. Reading these books one chapter per day will keep you busy for the next 68 days; after that, you can choose for yourself which books of the Bible you’ll read. What matters is that you read at least one book daily, without exception.
By reading the Bible you hear from God; in prayer you express yourself to Him. And just as it’s impossible to live victoriously apart from the Word, so it’s inconceivable that you could be a man of purity without also being a man of prayer.
I find it helps to approach prayer after reading scripture, as the Word has a way of roping my thoughts in and bringing me into a more focused frame of mind. I also find it helpful to begin prayer with worship – a simple verbal and mental acknowledgement of who God is. This is in line with the model Christ set out in Matthew 6: 9-13, commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer
This, along with reading Scripture, now adds ten minutes to your daily routine, and that’s ten minutes you can well afford.