The key to just about everything

I read a verse in my quiet time today that I think is the key to just about everything.

It is the key to getting out of debt and having a regular quiet time. It is the key to finding the motivation to double your class or not. It is the key to motivation in virtually every arena. And motivation is the key to just about everything. Here is the verse:

Crave pure spiritual milk.
1 Peter 2.2

The key to just about everything is, you gotta love it. You gotta crave it. You gotta want it. You gotta like it.

You must come to love the Christian life or you will never come to live the Christian life.

I do a lot of writing. Most of it not too profound. But that, my friend, is profound. Read it out loud, will you?

You must come to love the Christian life or you will never come to live the Christian life. Success in Christian living is all about managing your cravings. It is all about cultivating a craving for the right thing and not craving the wrong things.

We must come to understand the kind of day the hymn writer had when he wrote, "Sweet hour of prayer" or we do not pray very much. We must love prayer or we don't pray enough. Learn to love prayer.

We are to crave the spiritual milk of the word of God, but it is not the only thing we should crave. We should crave the work. We should crave the gifts that God has given us and our opportunities to use those gifts. We should crave the opportunity to be generous with our resources. Don't you love generous people? Don't you want to be the kind of person that everyone in your world sees as generous? Get in touch with that craving. Cultivate that craving. Lean into that craving. You must come to love being generous, or you will never come to live a generous life.

The Bible says, "get in the habit of having guests home for dinner." You must come to love hospitality, or I bet it has been a while since you had any guests' feet under your dinning room table. You must come to love hospitality or you will never come to live hospitality.

How to cultivate the right desires

Christian living is about cultivating the right desires and letting them overshadow the wrong desires. Overcome evil with good. Crave the right things. How do we do that?

It takes time.

When was the last time you sat in a chair and thought. . .

  • I am going to spend the next ten minutes thinking about my wife and how much I love her and how grateful I am for her and how glad I am that God brought her into my life.
  • I am going to spend the next few minutes thinking about how much I love the Bible--the promises and the praise and the instruction and the wisdom and the admonition and the comfort and all the Bible is to me.
  • I am going to spend the next few minutes thinking about my class and how much I love the people in it and how much I want it to grow and how satisfying it is to reach out to new people and how worth it it is to live out church life with them.

Craving takes time. If we would learn to crave the right things we must set aside time to do it. The most likely time is during our morning quiet time. Then, during the day as we have down time--while we drive or wait--we do well to spend that time cultivating the right cravings.

Think about the good

We are irrevocably hard wired to pursue what we perceive to be in our best interest. Think about that. Think about the benefit. Think about the win. Think about the prize. Paul said, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philip. 4:8 [NIV]

There are all kinds of things we can think about. Think about the good. Think about what is right in the world. Think about how much you love it. Cultivate gratefulness.

This is one of the many things I love about my Dad. He has lived with chronic back pain for a long time now. Sometimes it is severe, sometimes it lessens, but it is always with him. He has been to a number of doctors. One told him, "You are  old. This is what happens when you get old." Apparently, there is not much science can do for him and he will live with this pain for the rest of his life.

But, if you knew my dad, you would never know what I just told you. The vast majority of the time he is upbeat, positive and smiling. He thinks about the good. Every now and then the pain is so severe, or so limiting to his activity that you will notice. If you were to ask him about it, he would tell you the truth. He is in pain most of the time. But you would have to ask him. He won't bring it up. He is a living embodiment of James 1.2: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." James 1:2 [NIV]

As I walked out of church yesterday I could not help but overhear a lady ranting and raving and griping and crying at the top of her lungs for all to hear. As I reflected on what she was ranting about, it did seem a bit of a misstep. Someone at church had committed an oversight. But, it was just that--an oversight. A misstep. For some, it doesn't take much to get them thinking about the bad.

Think about the cost

There is always a cost. Life is about arranging the order of the pains and pleasures of life. Generally speaking, if we take the pain first there is less of it. Think about the cost of not reading your Bible, of living a life without prayer, of ignoring your kids, a life without friends. Is that the kind of life you want to live?

Failing to follow God always has a cost. Think soberly about the cost.

The evil one would have us do the opposite. He invites us to think about the pleasure of sin and minimize our thoughts of sin's consequences. If we would live victorious lives we must think about the cost of sin and the reward of following God. Thinking clearly about the pain and pleasure will lead us to crave the spiritual milk.

Conclusion

What are you craving these days. Your cravings determine your direction. Life always flows in the direction of your craving. Crave the right things.