“In your life, learn to walk with Jesus.
In your faith, be real and never fake.
And in your ministry, surround yourself with people who are better than you.”
Best known as founder of the Open Doors ministry, Brother Andrew was called “God’s Smuggler” for his bold transportation of the Bible into countries that had banned the Word. On reading this quote by him, I was challenged and knew I needed to get busy.
“Okay, let’s work down the list,” I thought. “Already walking with Jesus, check. Next, have a real faith, yes, got that. Last item: surround myself with people superior to me…hmmm…not sure about that…what about the ministries I’m in charge of…aren’t leaders supposed to be on top of things?”And that would usually end the mental discussion as I moved on to the next devotional reading. Yet, I kept coming back to the simplicity of his comments versus how I would normally react.
Typically, our response to a challenging devotional is conviction for coming up short in our spiritual life. We commit to work harder at the spiritual disciplines: pray, study, service. I have to remind myself that devotion means to be inspired in our consideration of an individual, not to create an effort of working for that person’s favor or attention. Should my response be to work for my salvation, to prove myself worthy of the relationship? Or should it be to appreciate the holiness and goodness of God? We should use the devotional as a path to reviewing, renewing and anticipating our love toward the Lord, as well as a check on our spiritual progress.
Brother Andrew starts out with such an assignment, not one of duty but relationship, to learn to walk with Jesus. Spending time in study and prayer to have this quality of relationship with the Lord, not the expectation of reward, must be the call of our heart. In so doing, we reflect Him with integrity, honesty and humility in all aspects of our lives. Paul had a similar thought regarding the believers in the church at Colossae:
So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. (Colossians 1:9-10)
Paul asked them to consider that in becoming students of God, learning His ways, living in His wisdom and caring for others, their relationship with Him would only increase. And so it is with us today!