Galatians 5:16-17

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A daily; slow cultivation

I'm sorry I haven't posted in forever.
I was just being thoughtful and didn't want to overburden you guys with too many posts;) 
kidding, but I have been having a really hard time processing things lately, and I can get even more off track if I start rambling on a blog

I love deals. There's a blog called that you all should familiarize yourselves with;) (its great). I think a reason that I like deals so much is because they're an easy shortcut. If I can get something for a great deal, then I don't have to make as much money - easier and less work. 

I've been thinking lately about my approach to reading Christian books. God's been revealing to me that reading Christian books can sometimes act as a "slickdeal" in my pursuit of Him. They're 10 bucks, I can read them in a couple days, and they're full of valuable quick-fix gems that grow me towards Christlikeness, instead of consistently reading the Bible, being firm and saying no to things so I can spend time with God, exhaustingly fighting temptation, praying, etc. 

HA! Wouldn't that be nice if that's how easily transformation into holiness happened! 

That's seriously how I have often approached Christian books :/
I would relate it to spending hours 'talking' through the mechanics, and theoretically learning how to hit a homerun by Derek Jeter - but never practicing or actually swinging a bat. Then I get thrown into a game and..... 
Strike out on 3 straight pitches. (making Derek Jeter look like a horrible teacher)
I spend hours with Christian authors, theoretically learning how to walk in Christ, and 'grasping' how to have my life shine as a result of the energy from my powerful and supernatural intimacy between myself and Christ. I "get" the importance of spiritual disciplines and how they kindle Fire, I would say, yeah, yeah, I know the world is distracting and following Christ is against the grain and upstream and that it takes diligence and awareness, and constant prayer.
And then I would go to the field (life), and would experience a big gap between my understanding and ability to continually walk in that understanding.  

It's the daily. The slow, steady, consistent, Holy-Spirit-and-Bible-saturated pilgrimage into intimate fellowship with God over a lifetime. 

We (our age group) are so susceptible to not learning this. It's really easy to overlook the idea that a life of discipleship is a long haul and then not see ourselves acting otherwise. We have no idea how much the fast-paced, immediacy-driven culture we live in affects how we pursue KNOWING GOD.

Lord, teach us that our default mode is our flesh, and give us a violent distaste for it's sin but free us from a critical and negative spirit. Draw us into your satisfying presence is, and give us grace and endurance to stay there with everything we have. 


  1. beautiful prayer at the end, billy. thanks for sharing this. yeah, i think there's a huge problem with the Christian book reading thing sometimes, haha. and i think a part of it is because a lot of churches and Christian people have given into this "good enough for the church" mentality, in an attempt not to make people feel bad about themselves. let's focus and discern on what's good in "Christian" AND "secular" writing, music, movies. it could be a wonderful thing.

  2. I don't totally follow bayley What do you mean by good-enough-mentality?

    btw, I used 'ghee' in scrabble yesterday - haha

  3. so I was buying a Christian book at a Christian bookstore about 3 years ago. I was shopping for a friend's bday presesnt. I couldn't decide which book I wanted to buy for my friend, so I ask the cashier. she was an older woman and I was sure she'd have a good opinion. after all, she worked at the bookstore. after posing the question to her, she replied that she preferred the Good Book and didn't give her time to other books. She only sought Him in It. I felt a bit attacked, but 3 years later I am beginning to understand her tactic. Christian books aren't bad, but they can be distracting to seeking Him in His word. I guess what I am trying to say is that I get what you are throwing out. These books do provide quick phrases and things to hold onto throughout the next day... things to strive towards becoming. Yet, what if we were striving towards the context of a particular Psalm or contemplating what God's character is through a particular chapter in Isaiah? I, myself, aim to read more of the Bible, and read Christian books in addition to It, not the other way around. Thanks for sharing, Billy.

  4. This is really great. I always enjoy reading what you have to say, very well thought out and passionate. I resonate with this a lot, finding myself using little imitations of Christ to help with things. I love your prayer, that is something that I will be praying for as well. Thank you.

  5. I totally fall into the trap as a quick fix to be more Christ-like too. I think having just been in school for so long makes it hard for me to get out of the "check list" mode where once you finish your to dos your then your get your certificate. The fact that there isn't a checklist on how to be Christ-like is something that I've definitely been struggling with. I have to constantly remind myself that discipleship is a lifelong journey and not something that can be ever fully completed on earth.

  6. this reminds me of something darin said on sunday about borrowed adoration. too often i adore Christ with the actions and words of others (i.e. books, songs, ministry ideas, etc.) instead of responding uniquely out of an overflow of adoration in my own heart. Lord, make our response to you a unique representation of what you are doing inside us.

  7. I agree that our generation struggles in this fast-paced culture to actually slow down to pursue knowing God. This is something I struggle with. I get so caught up with a to-do list for the day and include God in that. I want God to be the priority of my day and not a thing to include. Thanks for sharing Billy! P.S. I didn't see you at Catalyst but Dannah says you saw us ;) Hope you enjoyed it! There was so much truth shared there that I am still processing :)

  8. When a "Christian book" and the Bible sit side by side on the table, you're right, it's so much easier to pick up the book...and not the Good one.

    We know what we'll get. Even if it finds a new angle from which to approach the topic, we know that whatever the idea we will be able to nod our heads, to think, "Yes, I should probably do that." In this conversation we can agree with the author, but he or she will never hold us accountable.

    Then there's the Bible. I'm always surprised by it. There are days when I approach it casually, days when I read it cautiously, days when I read it voraciously...but I am almost always surprised by it. And once you've heard what it has to say, there's no escaping it. This author will absolutely hold us accountable.

    It is a dangerous book, and it is a life-giving one. I think you captured many of my same habits just perfectly.

  9. I enjoyed reading this post and all the comments to follow. Great things to think on everyone!

  10. "May we stay there with everything we have." Thank you for sharing such rich thoughts. I am guilty of the fast pace, the quick, the easy to get it done way. This is not how we know God. Ahhh, the struggles of figuring out our walks. Praying for you in this and may this prayer be mine as well.

    Thank you.

  11. For me Billy, it can be hard sometimes to get all I want or need out of christian books. There can be so much information packed in there with thought provoking questions that I get overwhelmed. It is almost easier in fact to not even read them (as lame as that sounds). So with that being said, I can totally understand how you feel. It's not easy.