Some time ago I watched a sales instruction video in which the instructor said something that was incredibly simple and yet had profound implications. He said we already know what to do. The problem was that we’re just not doing it.
I have been involved in sales for most of my adult life, and I knew precisely what he was talking about. He was talking about all the things that a good sales representative has to do in order to be successful, and he was right: Most people in sales knew what those things were, but many of them weren’t successful because they just didn’t do them.
I couldn’t help thinking that there was a spiritual application to what he said.
How many times have you been listening to a sermon, or reading a theological book or article, or maybe been in a Sunday School class and the urgency of making good use of the means of grace was communicated to you? If you are like me, you’ve experienced that many, many times. And you’ve also been convicted about how relatively little time you’ve spent in the Word or in prayer.
We knew. We knew the benefits of using the means of grace and we knew the risks of failing to use them. We already knew what we needed to do. We just weren’t doing it.
Are we spending time in prayer?
I remember reading about some Puritan of old that said he if he didn’t spend at least three hours in prayer, the day was lost. I’m not suggesting that has to be our practice. I do think, however, that it does illustrate how vital prayer was seen by great men of God in times past. We have ample reasons for why we should pray, and we certainly have plenty of things to pray about. (Phil 4:6, Mark 11:24, 1Thess 5:17, Matt 6:6, 1Tim 2:1-4)
Are we spending time reading the Word of God?
The Scripture informs us of a lot of things, but the Word of God is more than mere information. It also has the power to sustain us in our walk with God. Even when the passage is familiar to us, we will be reminded of the great truth written there and the Spirit will use it to our benefit. (Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119:169, 1Peter 2:2, Eph 6:17, John 17:17)
Are you going through a spiritually dry time? If you answered “no” to the earlier questions, should you really be surprised that your spiritual life is dry? The old Puritan that I spoke of earlier understood both the nature of the world and the nature of the human heart. He understood from experience and observation the impossibility of sustaining spiritual vitality without the diligent use of the means of grace.
We know what we need to do, by the grace of God. It’s time to start doing it. (Luke 11:28)