The Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict (Galatians 5:16-17T).
About to open wide, with the menacing drill lowering toward his mouth, a man humorously pleaded with his dentist, "Careful, doc, I can stand anything but pain."
We Americans are especially notorious for avoiding pain at all cost. By nature, every one of us is inclined to take the path of least resistance. The dentist usually injects us with Novocain to keep us from feeling any pain, but we don't like the injection needle because of its momentary sting.
We look for easy exercise programs that won't make us perspire too much or get too tired. Students shortcut their assigned reading by reviewing study notes.
And diets? There always seems to be a new fad for shedding weight without hunger or exercise! Liquid diets, banana diets, carbohydrate diets, protein diets, grapefruit diets, and the list goes on and on and on.
When it comes right down to the basics, we do not like hard work. Even in those areas that we recognize are in our best interest, such as with exercising, dieting, and studying, we avoid developing disciplines to help us.
This is especially true when it comes to the spiritual discipline of prayer. We desperately need prayer, yet many desperately avoid it. What a paradox! All of us would acknowledge the critical importance of regular fellowship with God. But as I travel around the world and speak to Christians everywhere, I meet very few who express a natural inclination for prayer.
That is probably because prayer is not natural, at least for our fleshly, or sinful, nature, even though our spirit, wooed by the Holy Spirit, yearns for communion with God. "The Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict" (Galatians 5:16, 17, NLT).
That translation speaks of "your choices." That is where the battle lies. By faith, we must "choose" to pray. By faith, we must choose to fast. By faith, we must choose to obey God, even though our natural selves may not "feel" like it.
The Bible says, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature" (Colossians 3:5, NIV).
We must not be governed by our feelings, which are deceiving. By faith, we must choose to obey God's Word and pray -- not only pray, but let us "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 6:17, KJV).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.