Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Redeemed"1 (Lyrics)
She is like a hyperactive octopus. Her arms and hands never cease in their enthusiasm to reach and grab anything and everything in sight. We have nicknamed her Elastigirl, as her arms seem to have an amazing ability to stretch and stretch as she seeks to embrace what she has set her eye upon. And she is not even one year old. What determination!
As I watch this little one, I am forever kept on my toes, keeping inappropriate items out of her reach. I am reminded of my need never to stop reaching either — never to stop reaching out to God in my endeavour to become more like Jesus Christ in my daily walk: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him; never to stop stretching in love to embrace others around me, to love my neighbour as myself. I am reminded to determine in my heart not to conform any longer to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of my mind, that I will be able to test and approve what God's will is — His good, pleasing, and perfect will. I am reminded not to lean upon my own understanding, but in all my ways to acknowledge Him that He might direct me and show me the best way to go.
All of these spiritual goals require me to stretch, to reach, and to determine within my own heart to keep stretching and reaching for as long as I shall live. For as the apostle Paul wrote:
Romans 12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. (NIV)
Zeal is defined as great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. I remember it well. I used to be filled with it night and day, but as I age, it is more often a memory than a reality, a common problem which I often hear discussed among older people. As the Lord put it to His disciples, who kept falling asleep as He was praying at Gethsemane before His crucifixion:
Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. (NIV)
Herein lies the answer to staying strong in our fervour for serving the Lord and in our ability to keep reaching and stretching in our Christian life: Watch and pray.
My little granddaughter is always watching for her opportunity to stretch and grab something. We, too, must continually ask God to open our spiritual eyes to watch and observe what is happening around us, that we might stretch out and grab onto it in prayer. For when we pray according to God's will, we know that He will answer it. And when God answers our prayers, when we see Him at work in our lives and our world, our zeal and enthusiasm for serving Him continues to burn brightly all the days of our lives.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that we can keep reaching and stretching and growing in our Christian lives and in our fervour for serving You, as we faithfully watch and pray according to Your command and the guidance of Your Holy Spirit. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.