A person cannot grow in faith and works while distancing himself from the family of God. Christians need each other, 1 Corinthians 12. We belong to one another, Romans 12.5.
Neither can one be saved while neglecting the word of salvation, Ephesians 1.13; James 1.21. God’s power is in the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, Romans 1.16; 1 Thessalonians 1.5. Without the word there is no hope, Psalm 119.74, 81, 114, 147; Romans 15.4.
Whoever has no time for prayer has no time for God. To receive, we must ask, Matthew 7.7-12. “You do not have because you do not ask” James 4.2.
Too many are like the rich young ruler. Good people. Fine folk. But the heart is divided. The priority is not God. An idol lurks inside. They cannot remain in the presence of the Lord.
What we need is “total commitment” 2 Corinthians 8.7 CEB, which is “the power of action, the zeal to perform” (TDNT VII, 566). The steward must be faithful, 1 Corinthians 4.2, else he will be cast out, Luke 16.1-13. Half-hearted devotion is no devotional at all. “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” Luke 16.13.
The Way is not complicated. The commandments cause no grief to the obedient, 1 John 5.3. The burden of Christ is not heavy, Matthew 11.30. God created man as a straightforward being, Ecclesiastes 7.29. What we complicated, he simplifies. He smooths out the road we left strewn with IEDs.
Man wants to improve on God’s plan. He prefers the streams of Damascus to the Jordan River, 2 Kings 5.12. He likes the convenience of temples in Dan and Bethel, 1 Kings 12.25-32. He thinks it necessary to protect God’s law with a hedge, and then he hedges on the law, Mark 7.8-13.
We want microwaved prayers and toaster petitions, but it is by persisting in prayer that we will gain the victory, Romans 12.12, “always struggling in prayer” in order that we and others may “stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” Colossians 4.12.
We want to judge God’s word, but it is the word that will judge us in the last day, John 12.48; it will be the destroying sword that will reveal all, Hebrews 4.12. Let us be the best clingers to the Word that ever lived, Luke 8.15.
We want to diminish the importance of the church, but it is the people of God who will enter, en bloc, the portals of heaven, Acts 2.47; 20.27. We are saved to love each other, 1 Peter 1.22-23.
What do we need? To hear and heed the words of the Lord through the prophet, to “get rid of everything that hinders your commitment to me” Jeremiah 4.4.