Holding your breath is difficult. It takes concentration. It’s unnatural.
Our devotion to the Lord should be like breathing, but, sadly, many Christians go through life as if they are holding their spiritual breath. What should be natural components of our devotions, are actually difficult because we do not develop the patterns in our life.
The psalmist speaks of the pattern of his devotion in Psalm 119. Because of God’s Word, he has “refrained from every evil way” and has not “departed from thy judgments” (Psalm 119:101-102). What entices such devotion? The psalmist has found God’s Word is sweet, “yea, sweeter than honey” (Psalm 119:103)! Do you find God’s Word sweeter than honey? It is typically treated like it’s worse than medicine!
When you take a cue from the children of Israel, Moses tells them, “I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death” (Deuteronomy 31:27)? We, much like the children of Israel, have a tendency to develop patterns of rebellion in our life. These patterns become our default way of thinking and acting. Moses recognized it and Isaiah saw the results. Isaiah said, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight…and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13-14).
That’s the answer! We have to realize our way is not delightful. Our way is delusional. When I break from that pattern and declare, “The Lord is my pleasure,” we will begin to find the truth that God is a rich rewarder of them that seek Him. Those who seek their own pleasure, “They have their reward…thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:16, 18).
Earlier this month, we were in Charleston, South Carolina, which has become one of my wife’s favorite places to visit. As we watch the harbor, you see the waters are teeming with activity. Vessels of all shapes, styles, and sizes are navigating the waters of the harbor. Some are noisy as their engines grind, thunder, and putter. The vessels which stand out to me require more powers of observation simply because they slip silently almost like a dream. The pilot of this ship knows his fuel is not something he generates or manufactures. He simply positions the sails to catch the wind and naturally and even effortlessly he is carried along to his desired destination.
It’s time to turn your sails and find joy in the ways of God.