It’s a Monday morning, and the start of a new week.
A typical day for me might look like this: a quick breakfast after I wake up, and tea as I throw together a lunch for work, and get ready. I’m quiet and groggy driving the 20 minutes to work, not really thinking about anything, just mentally prepping for the day. I busy myself with what needs to be done at work, and I’m only too happy when 4:30 comes around and I can go home. I make supper, spend some time with my husband, maybe put my feet up a bit, and then get the daily chores done, making sure the house is clean and tidy before I go to bed for the night. A whole day has gone by, and I have been happy and cheerful, kind to others, got the laundry and floors done, and had a productive day.
All in all, at the end of the day I can look back and be pretty satisfied.
What is a spiritually productive day?
But what about my spiritual life? If I haven’t given myself any spiritual nourishment, or thought about my calling, or been awake to the possibilities my day contains, how have I had a spiritually productive day? Sure, I got all the laundry done, paid the bills I’ve been meaning to pay, but how have I progressed spiritually?
To be spiritually productive means that I have seen the sin that dwells in my flesh (Romans 7:17-20) and have cleansed myself from it. Annoyance at a co-worker, frustration when things don’t happen the way I want them to, or impatience at a slow-working computer. They may seem insignificant, but these sorts of things can come up in my daily life and I have to learn to be free from that. To be spiritually productive means to make progress in getting rid of that “sin in my flesh.” If I think that I can go through a whole day and not have had any temptations at all, then I am simply not awake, because temptations to sin will always come up in my daily life. If I don’t even see them, it’s because I don’t have my eyes open.
How serious this is! How am I able to become free from the sin in my flesh if I don’t see anything to cleanse myself from?
The reason is that I have become satisfied with the way that I am, and I no longer have a longing in my heart, no need in my life to be finished living according to the lusts of my flesh (1 Peter 4:1-2), so that I can be conformed to the image of Christ; no real hatred of sin. This is extremely dangerous. Then I become complacent, because I do not see sin as exceedingly sinful. (Romans 7:13)
I have to consciously work
Sure, that’s not exactly how I’d put it if I thought about it; I don’t walk around thinking, “I am satisfied with the way that I am and no longer need to cleanse myself,” but it’s more in the form of not noticing when the Spirit speaks to me, and not seeing that I had a chance to humble myself at this time, for example.
If I am satisfied with my spiritual state, then how am I able to progress? I can’t progress if I don’t see a need to. I wasn’t born with a perfect patience, with the ability to easily forgive others, etc. But with God’s grace, I can become like that. I can actually attain divine nature! But I can only come to divine nature by constantly cleansing myself from what I see come up from my flesh. (2 Peter 1:2-4) I have to consciously work on my salvation at all times. (Philippians 2:12)
I need to make time to read my Bible, to fill myself with God’s Word, which is where I get the weapons that I can use in my situations. I need to remember to use my thought life to pray for myself, to pray for others, so that I don’t walk around in the emptiness of my own mind. (Ephesians 4:17) I can build up the others through prayer.
I read the verse this morning, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15. So when I do hear God’s voice speaking to me, prompting me to do something, I have to be quick to do it. If I stop listening, or keep putting off what I know I should do, or say, then God stops nudging me and I become deaf to the Spirit’s voice. Every morning I need to pray to really have my eyes open to the situations and temptations of the day, so that I can be quick to overcome. I have to pray for a hatred against sin so that when God does show me something in my flesh, that I can hate it and be quick to destroy it.