This semester in our men's Bible study we're studying the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23). Last night we looked at "faithfulness." Part of our homework each week is to come with a worldly cultural example of the assigned Fruit of the Spirit. My wife, Dani, supplied me with this example of what faithfulness looks like to the world…
Here is the life of prayer, when in or with the [Holy] Spirit, a man being made sensible of sin, and how to come to the Lord for mercy, he comes, I say, in the strength of the Spirit, and cries "Father" [Romans 8:15]. That one word spoken in faith is better than a thousand prayers, as men call them, written and read in a formal, cold, luke-warm way.
Do you feel as though your prayers are often "formal," "cold," and "lukewarm"?
If Bunyan's right, it's probably because you are not sensible of the depth of your own sin and misery. In other words, your prayer life is likely cold and dead because you don't see the extent of your need to go to God. Sure, you might run to Him when you have a crisis to be rescued from: illness, stress about school, heavy traffic, or some other uncomfortable situation. But these things will only bring you to God periodically and selfishly. The question is, Are you aware of your constant, complete dependence on God because of your sinful misery? Do you feel a perpetual need to call upon God to sustain you in the midst of your battle with your sinful flesh? Do you live in the mercy of Jesus Christ? And if not, why not? Because you are not sensible of your sin.
Lately, I've been seeing a glaring reason we have little to no sense of our sinful misery. And that is that we are worldly.
Now, I suspect that's a vague and mysterious word to our ears. Worldly. But it's really quite simple. Worldly = World-like. Like the world.
But what does it mean for us to be like the world? Here's an idea…