Most of us think of the spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible reading, study, fasting, etc) as a mere obligation and duty.
They are a “have to” in the spiritual life, rather than a “get to.”
This week I was pondering a great quote from EM Bounds talking about how prayer should not become a duty …
“Prayer ought to enter into the spiritual disciplines, but it ceases to be prayer when it is carried on by habit only. … Desire gives fervor to prayer. The soul cannot be listless when some great desire fixes and inflames it. … Strong desires make strong prayers. … The neglect of prayer is the fearful token of dead spiritual desires. The soul has turned away from God when desire after Him no longer presses it into the closet.”
What a great truth – the moment prayer is only sustained by habit or duty, it ceases to be prayer.
What if our spiritual lives weren’t based on duty but upon delight?
Sure, there are times in our lives when we must choose to walk in obedience and pursue Christ through the spiritual disciplines, regardless if we are “in the mood” or “feeling” like it … but what if our key motivation wasn’t an obligation, habit, or duty, but was because of the delight and desire to pursue Christ?
I have never once met a young man who was engaged to a wonderful woman and had to force himself to spend time with her. It isn’t a duty or obligation for the man to spend time with the one he loves – it is a delight!
What if that was true in our relationship with Jesus as well?
Hebrews 11:6 says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Could we freshly pursue and seek after Jesus this week not because we have to, but because it’s the desperate desire of our heart?
What if spending time with God in His Word, through prayer, or any of the other spiritual disciplines moved from performance to passion, from duty to delight, from a “have to” to a “get to,” from an obligation to an obsession, from an “I’ll try to fit it in my schedule” to a necessity and “I can’t live without it, because I can’t live without Him”?
I’m cheering you on unto that end!