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Don’t waste your time!

25 May

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

 MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546)
Author’s story
            Martin Luther was born in Germany in the end of 15th century. Europe was in that time under strong Roman-catholic influence and in many ways needed a reformation. At first Luther started to study law, but after miraculous experience when during one storm, lightning hit the ground right next to him, he became an Augustinian monk. A year later he was made a priest and after that he continued in his further theological studies so he could start teaching moral theology. When he for the first time visited Rome, his view on Roman-Catholicism was trembled. Corruption of church awakened a desire for a change. Luther continued in his work and he became a sub-prior in Wittenberg house, he developed his personal qualities and he still preached. 
            In 1515 through studies of Psalms, Galatians and Romans, Luther experienced revelation from God; At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I … began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith.… Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.” It took him two years, till he became more opened and offensive as he posted his 95 theses for debate on the Castle church in Wittenberg. In next years he was able to defend his new theology as he claimed the supremacy of the authority of Scripture over church authority. In next years Luther worked a lot on defence of his theses and he has published 5 publications to support his theology. In these works Luther explains the universal priesthood, servant-hood and also Lordship of Christians. Reaction of Pope was a bull for recantation which caused the burning of his works. This did not stop him so pope issued next bull, excommunicated Luther and tried to deprive Luther of civil rights and protection. Luther then had to escape.
               In following years Luther focused more on translation of the bible. In 14 years he was able to finish translation of whole old testament. Luther was highly focused on bringing gospel to people in understandable way. He really had a heart for people and he was very honest about his weaknesses. He wanted to see church growing and to be healthy in Christ. G. Bromley writes about him; Luther stands out as a very human figure. As he said at Worms, he made no claim to special sanctity. He recognized himself when he stated that believers are at the same time both righteous and sinners. His faults were as easy to see as his virtues. He was not characterized by any hypocrisy or pretence. He saw and told things as they were, whether in relation to the gospel or in relation to himself.” Today we see Luther as the voice of reformation. He kept publishing and God was showing him new and new things. In 1537 he offered a restatement of his essential theology in Articles of Schmalcald. By this Luther not only criticized the weaknesses of church but he proactively developed church’s doctrines. Luther during his whole life kept reacting on society and was always prepared to express his faith. In this sense he was an amazing defender of God’s word.
           When Luther spoke about prayer, he did not speak about some kind of dead theology, but he spoke out of his personal experience. For some people his quote may sound “over-spiritual”, but what we see in Luther’s life we maybe change our opinion. When he entered monastery he was one of the most passionate monks. He plunged into praying, fasting and also ascetic practices. He later said about himself that if somebody should be saved by deeds, it would be him that time. However, what he recognized was that it is not due to his “good deeds” that he can be saved. It is due to faith. Luther had his weaknesses and he did not get rid of all of them throughout his life, but he still was active and wanted to glorify God. Luther had a lot of responsibilities and it is obvious that he was very busy man. He was priest and he still kept teaching, publishing and translating. This is why to read this quote from him is something we can not just overlook. Many times when we get under stress, We stop spending our time with God and we push Him aside. My experience however is that when I trust Him, He in some incredible way helps me to handle my time in a way that I actually save much more time then if I would just ignore His calling. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” This is what Jesus says in the sermon on the mountain but it many times is not as easy as it seems. It presupposes trust and faith in that God will provide, that God will take care.
            There is usually a great tension in thoughts mentioned above. People tend to ask; “Why would I then try and do my best if my relationship with God is everything I need?” What we do not see is that our relationship with God goes much deeper then to prayer or spending time with him. It is relationship which is not only about receiving but also about giving. We love because he first loved us. If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars. For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen. And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love one another.”Our relationship to God has to be outlived also towards our neighbors and if not, as John writes we do not love God either. So if our relationship with God does not cause a change inside of us that is visible, there is a question of how real is our faith.
         John MacArthur Jr. in his book “Alone with God” writes; Because ours is such a free and prosperous society, it is easier for Christians to feel secure by presuming on instead of depending on God’s grace. Too many believers become satisfied with physical blessings and have little desire for spiritual blessings. Having become so dependent on their physical resources, they feel little need for spiritual resources. When programs, methods, and money produce impressive results, there is an inclination to confuse human success with divine blessing.”We have to ask ourselves everyday where are our hearts. We need to know where is God in our life. Are we walking in faith? Or are we standing on our own and we just say we are dependent on God? When did we last time prayed for more then 5, 10, 20 minutes? More then hour? More then two? When did we last time fast? How much do we know God? How much do we love Him? Are we giving Him the first priority in our lives?
         I struggle with being dependent on God, when I feel good and also when I try to be focused on God. Why? Because I stop being dependent as soon as I am doing good and when I expect that because of what I do God will do something also. For a long time I thought about how can I change it and I came to a conclusion that it is not possible. It is only due to mercy and grace of God that I can rely on Him. In dependency I seek for stability. But is there any real stability in this world? Everything keeps changing and people can not find satisfaction. Great example is a kite. It can not fly on its own, but thanks to wind it can slowly go up until it reaches its maximum stance if in hands of skilful person. Kite is stable and moving in the wind, reaching higher and higher places. If we let go of authority over our lives and we give ourselves to God by choosing Him on the first place, He will guide us into things we have been created to. He knows us best as He is our creator and He will not let us go down. This happens in prayer, when we loose control over our lives and Spirit takes the rudder.
           Being genuine and truly seek God. Martin Luther is our inspiration also today, almost 500 years after his death. God spoke through this amazing man and we have a lot to learn from his life. He did so much for the glory of God. He has built doctrines, translated bible and hymns, all to help people grow and to be closer to God. Even he was active he lived according to simple principle. He prayed first and was obedient to God’s call.
            In the flow of Holy Spirit we can fly higher and experience new things. If we are trusting him, we will not fall. But in moments of rebellion we lack stability because we will never find stability in ourselves. We need to pray first and put our dependance on God and He will answer. He is our leader and He wants us to pass what He teaches us further on. If we lack something, He will provide if we will give ourselves for Him as He first gave Himself for us.
written by: Jakub Kriška
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Theology

 

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