As best as I could, I left it all there at His feet and prayed a very heartfelt prayer. Then I got up from my knees, poured a cup of coffee and got back to work on something I was doing for an event. The thought occurred to me, "Am I teachable? I just cried out to God to show me His ways and instead of doing my part and spending more time in the Word, I'm doing more work."
There is nothing wrong with working after prayer. I was convicted because I knew I was asking God for something and I wasn't doing MY part. His Word is there. It's completely up to us to pick it up and read it, to truly study it. Both prayer and study are essential in our walk with God. "Draw near to God and God will draw near to you," says in James 4:8.
I had to confront myself with the painful reality that I am not always very teachable. Here are a few steps that are my goal to remain teachable:
- Pray a dangerous prayer and ask God to forgive me, use me, and teach me
- Dedicate time to studying His Word and turning off all distractions as I do; television, phone, computer (having Facebook open is a no-no).
- Meditate on the Word I read and even choose certain verses to memorize.
- Expect God to open use me to encourage someone (another reason to be filled with His Word, since it's not just about me).
- Take notes when I listen to a teaching (church, online, articles, books).
- Study the notes I take as part of my devotional time (research, study original language meaning, etc.).
- Take more steps outside of my comfort zone where I can see God at work.
- Take sin seriously and not excuse my ungodly behavior (this is a big one as many of us attempt to justify our "small" sins) since it separates me from God and makes me insensitive to His voice.
- Reject unhealthy thoughts and not allow emotions to rule over God's truth.
- Remain on guard against criticizing others or gossiping.
- Put to rest the struggle with my self image and hold to the truths about who God says I am.
Neglecting our time in the Word and in prayer are the best ways to grow cold and indifferent. Not spending time with other believers can also get the job done. How can we ask God for blessing and guidance and yet ignore His Word? Strange creatures we are, indeed. That's not exactly a teachable state of mind or heart. I must examine myself:
- Am I giving other things priority in my life?
- Am I not trying to spend time in the Word?
- Am I using my time wisely and purposefully?
- Are my eyes and ears open to others who might need encouragement?
- How much time am I actually spending in the Word and how much time am I spending doing other insignificant things (using time wisely).
- Am I practicing what I preach and claim to believe?
- Am I learning one thing in the Word and doing another?
- Whom in life do I honor?
- Are there any idols in my life?
- Are there any unhealthy emotional ties to things or habits that take time or strength away from me, therefore limiting my relationship with God?
Just think! The sooner we get back on track, the sooner we'll be better equipped to not only live a more abundant life, but to help others know God as we work for the Kingdom. Let's be about our Father's business. Let's make sure we are not the ones preventing ourselves from growing in our walk with the Lord.
Be blessed and serve your King well!