Wasteland Kings

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 ESV

I was talking with a friend the other day and suggested he open doors for Jesus to work in his daily life. He responded with the apt question of ‘how do I do that?’ I wasn’t sure how to answer his question at first because my advice had spilled out of my mouth without much planning.

After a few moments of thought, I told him to look for opportunities to apply the spiritual disciplines in his daily life. Things like quiet times, prayer, and Scripture memory are the clearly marked doors through which Jesus moves. These doors are rarely used though because they are awkward and tend to disrupt the comfortable flow of our lives.

To put it simply, they’re just not cool. At times, doing something uncool is the key to inviting Jesus into your life and experiencing change.

When I was imprisoned to pornography, I thought the key to freedom would come from stronger will power. I would imagine a day when I could defeat the monster of pornography with a mighty strength that came from inside of me. This sounds really cool and looks nothing like my actual victory over porn.

Experiencing victory over porn started with getting frustrated and annoyed every time I confessed to my accountability partner. To combat the cause of my frustration, I installed Covenant Eyes on all my computers and even my phone. This software blocks any site that might contain something inappropriate.

For example, I can’t view anything on BuzzFeed because the filter stops me from going to the site. I would call this an awkward and disruptive decision. It’s awkward because it advertises my preference for internet handcuffs over internet freedom in a culture  that celebrates personal freedoms, autonomy, and self-reliance.

The software can also disrupt my life because it blocks some news articles or editorials I want to read. For example, my research into porn addiction has experienced some road blocks because of Covenant Eyes. Having to switch gears during the work day because of filtering software is not my idea of productivity.

I don’t say this to scare anyone away from filtering software or accountability. Covenant Eyes continues to play a wonderful role in my life and I wouldn’t think about uninstalling it because of awkwardness. God used Covenant Eyes to help me break free from porn and I have not regretted a single day of it’s presence on my computers and devices.

For similar reasons, I have never regretted applying the spiritual disciplines in my daily life. While it’s been awkward at times and often disruptive, opening those doors brought more life than I could’ve imagined. The most recent example of this came from prayer.

God has started working on my heart and opening my eyes to prayer’s importance in my life. In the past, I saw prayer as a way to check the box. I hoped God would answer my prayer, but my real motivation was to go through the motions so people couldn’t call me out for not praying.

God has been correcting this bad perspective on prayer. He’s showing me that it’s a powerful way to open up my life and heart to Him. This started in Ethiopia when I witnessed the way our Ethiopian brothers and sisters prayed.

They spoke to God straight from their hearts and expected to see some result even if it didn’t come in the immediate future. One of our translators, a man named Tamirat, told me about how he and his wife have prayed 18 years for a child. To this day, they feel confident God will answer their prayers.

This is me with Tamirat and one my team members Walker

This is me with Tamirat and one my team members Walker

Tamirat’s confidence made a powerful impact on my heart and encouraged me to pray more often and with much greater confidence in my prayers. A good example of this comes from conversations with other believers. If I get a meal with another believer or talk about something important, I’ll pray at the end of the conversation and lift up the subject of our talk to God.

This is an awkward and awesome practice. I don’t feel comfortable when I ask to ‘pray out’ of a conversation. At the same time, I’ve experienced incredible amounts of peace and fellowship because of this practice.

Praying out of a conversation brings us back to the important truth that God is sovereign and is in control. I used to walk away from conversations with an anxious hope that I said the right thing or that my words stuck. Now, I just ask God to make His truth stick and it becomes easier to roll my anxiety onto the truth of His sovereign power.

On top of that, I walk away from conversations with the reminder that I share an eternal and supernatural bond with my fellow believers. This reminder beats out normal goodbyes like ’see yah later’ or ‘have a good day’.  Just like Jesus, this bond exists between believers regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not.

The question is whether we will open the door and let it impact our daily lives.

Do you experience Jesus on a daily basis? Would you like to experience Him more? If you did, would you have more confidence and strength to tackle the problems of daily life?

Image Copyright: Public Domain

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Losing Heart
The Heart of a God

Matthew Rial