There is not one way to true spiritual fervour. There is no master key that opens every life to being fervent in Spirit. Let me give you many directives that are truly important, and some not so important (you must decide which is which for we are all different members of the body). How may this grace of true zeal be yours in greater abundance than it is at present? Thirty guidelines:
Don’t neglect asking God to make you more fervent in spirit every single day.
Go20to bed on time and get up on time each morning so that you start unrushed.
Sit under the best ministry you can get each Sunday. If you can get better preaching elsewhere why stay here? Life is too short.
Hitch your wagon to a star. Our lives are creaking ol d wagons; our congregation is a groaning wagon, but there are stars to which we can be hitched. I am talking of Martin Luther, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, J. Gresham Machen, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Read what they say; if they have recordings then listen to them. Learn of their lives and their battles. Makes them your role models – a number of men not one. Let their example and teaching help draw you through life. Hitch your wagon to them.
Unclutter your life. Our lives are all a pruning away what is inessential and a search for the simple things of the gospel.
Allow extra time to do things and to get to people and places.
Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over a period; don’t lump the hard things all together.
Take one day at a time.
Separate your worries from your concerns. If a situation is a concern, think about it, and ask God what he would have you do and let go of the anxiety, and put your trust in him. Why worry about situations concerning which you can do nothing? Commit it to the Lord and get on with life.
Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
Have backups; an extra car key in a friend’s house, an extra house key buried in the garden. A rickety old laptop . . . even a typewriter for emergencies.
K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
When we are ill, we are never quite as ill as we imagine we are. We always add on a proportion. Remember you are never as bad as you think you are.
Get enough rest, and eat sensible enjoyable food. One morning you don’t feel like reading the Scriptures. You don’t feel like working or praying. So you tend to say to yourself, ‘Well I’m not feeli ng well today and I can’t do this.’ No. You mustn’t say that, you must rouse yourself. Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise.
We all feel better if our minds are being exercised. Read more than the daily paper and novels. Do more than watch the TV. Think. Read non-fiction. The more you use your mind the better.
Get organized so that you use your time to maximal efficiency. It is amazing what you can do if you plan well.
Listen to CD’s while driving. That can redeem the time.
Write down thoughts and inspirations that have come to you or you’ll forget them.
Every day, find time to be alone. Once again, every day, find time to be alone.
When you are bowed down, then talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until later.
Make friends with as many godly people as you can.
Keep some little cards; inscribe new Scriptures on them; commit them to memory.
Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is to say, ‘The Lord Omnipotent is King.’
Keep smiling when you are tricked and criticised.
Take your work and studies seriously, but not yourself at all.
Develop a forg iving attitude (most Christians are doing the best they can).
Do everything for double usefulness. Bake two cakes or two quiches and take one to someone who is housebound. Write two letters to missionaries when you are in the rare writing mood.
Men and women, ‘we must hurry.’ That was the great word of William Chalmers Burns in Scotland as he thought of the shortness of the time. Buy up the opportunities of the week that lies ahead. It will never return.
Never resist an inclination to pray.
Paul the Apostle urges us to ensure that the energy of the Spirit is at work in us constantly with no hindrances preventing it. Resist the hindrances, remove the obstacles, and maintain the glow. You cannot work up the fire but you can remove the ashes and be stirring up the gift of God within you. We must not quench the Spirit. We must resist the drift to becoming lukewarm. That is not an option. The Lord will spew us out of his mouth if we do not become fervent in spirit. We must recapture every day our first love.
– Geoff Thomas