ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!
It’s hard to believe, but this month is my blog’s one-year anniversary!
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me into your lives via your computer or phone. You are a blessing to me and I hope you’ve been blessed by the blog posts and devotions.
I know that my blog title, The Law of Diminishing Returns, isn’t very celebratory. However, since I have published 75 articles during the past year and plan on writing more, I thought I better check out this hypothesis. Sure hope this theory doesn’t apply to the blogging world. More importantly, does it apply to our spiritual lives? We will take a look at that today.
For those of you not familiar with this concept its premise is that more of something eventually reduces a profitable return.
Business uses this formula to develop future plans. For instance, when you hire additional staff there is an increase in output and profit, but eventually, the cost of the new employees reduces the return per person.
A more relatable example (at least for me) is that the first piece of pizza tastes better than the fifth. In fact, by the time you get to the fifth you are thinking why did I eat this much. The more of something (pizza) reduces the return (the pleasure) I get.
SO HOW DOES THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS APPLY TO OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH? THIS LAW SAYS:
- the more we pray, the less effect we see.
- the more we worship diminishes our love for God.
- the more Scripture we read causes a weakening of our faith.
Are these statements true? Let’s take a look at what Jesus had to say about prayer, worship, and Scripture.
PERSEVERANCE INCREASES RATHER THAN DECREASES THE EFFECT OF PRAYER.
In Luke 18: 1—8, Jesus tells a parable that contradicts the diminishing return theory regarding our communication with God. Jesus tells the disciples about a woman who repeatedly requested justice from a godless judge. Eventually, her doggedness wore the judge out, and he resolved her case.
If a heathen who cared naught for this woman ultimately provided justice, how much more will God respond to His children? Our persistence demonstrates faith, a requirement for answered prayer. Matthew 21:22 declares we will receive what we ask for in prayer – but notice the verse begins with, “If you believe…” (NIV)
Lengthy prayer sessions were common for Jesus. For instance, he prayed all night before making the decision about the twelve apostles. (Luke 6: 12—13). Check out this link for many other examples of Jesus praying. http://jesusalive.cc/ques204.htm
More prayer develops a stronger relationship with God and helps us discern His will. When we pray God’s will, we see the fruit of prayer increasing not decreasing in our lives.
WORSHIP FOCUSES ON WHO GOD IS, SO HOW COULD OUR LOVE NOT INCREASE?
“Are we going to synagogue tomorrow?” Do you think Jesus asked the disciples this question on any Friday night? Yet, how many families consider this option every Saturday evening. Worshipping at the synagogue on the Sabbath was normal practice in Jesus’ life from childhood until His death on the cross. (Luke 4:16) You also find Him taking part in the God-ordained Jewish festivals. (John 5:1; 7:37 and Luke 22:7—15). If Jesus participated in formal worship, we should too.
Conversely, in John 4: 19—24, Jesus explains worship outside of a formal setting. This discussion is a bit unusual, for it takes place in the Israelite hated area of Samaria with a woman of ill-repute. This Samaritan poses a question to Jesus about the proper place to worship. Jesus explains to her that true worship comes from an honest and adoring heart. He tells her that the time has come to worship in spirit and in truth.
While we must not ignore formal worship settings, Jesus’ answer tells us that worship is more than just a church thing. Worship takes place anywhere or anytime by righteous people striving to do God’s will.
According to 1 Chronicles 16: 23—31 worship includes singing, declaring, fearing, trembling, acknowledging God as holy, holy, holy and Lord God Almighty. Romans 12: 1—2, tells us to offer ourselves to God. Be ready to do whatever He requires and be different from the people in the world.
With so many ways to worship, certainly more is better. Worship recognizes who God is and consequently strengthens our understanding and love of God.
READING SCRIPTURE REAPS MANY BENEFITS INCLUDING A STRONGER FAITH.
When Jesus had an encounter with Satan in Matthew 4:4, He drew on His knowledge of Scripture, and more importantly, put God’s words into practice. If Jesus used Scripture to resist temptation, do you think we need a strong scriptural foundation to combat evil in this world?
In Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, He taught that Scripture makes us wise. We must study and know Jesus’ words to build our lives on a firm foundation. (Matthew 7:24)
In Matthew 22:29, Jesus chastised a well-educated political and religious group (Sadducees) for not knowing the Scriptures and consequently making incorrect and false assumptions about Jesus and eternity. If we don’t know Scripture we can easily be led down the wrong path just like the Sadducees. I wonder if we encountered Jesus today, would he chastise us in the same way?
Romans 1:17 summarizes it well: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (ESV).
Since more prayer, worship, and Scripture reading results in increasing rather than diminishing returns, I have decided to commemorate our one-year anniversary by introducing a new series called:
VERSE OF THE WEEK
Psalm 119:105 declares: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (KJV).
Embedding God’s Word in our hearts and minds illuminates our path, providing direction throughout this earthly journey. I don’t know about you, but I need this light every moment of every day!
So each week I will share a verse with a brief commentary on the WSC website. Notification of these posts is no different than my past blog posts. You will receive an email from me. Click on the link and the post will appear! If you are on the home page, you can find the verses under the devotional heading. I will also continue to do regular blog posts on a variety of subjects; however, I will limit them to about once a month.
Introspection and reflection on God’s Word is the goal. Memorize, meditate, or just mull over the Scripture during the week. Use them to learn more of God’s Word, to help you worship, and/or adopt them as prayers.
This is one step toward making us more of a community. Later I want to add other ways to join us together. Perhaps a prayer board in 2019!
In the meantime, I hope that all WSC readers are uplifted by reflecting together on the same Scripture each week. Of course, adding your insights are helpful and welcome. After all, discussion and thoughtful observations can only expand our knowledge and help us cultivate a more vibrant walk with our Lord. We will begin this series on Sunday, September 16.
Spoiler alert: Our first study is a review of the Golden Rule. Researching this verse brought to light some interesting facts, and I see these words of Jesus a little differently. I hope you will learn something new too.
If you know of some others who want to grow in their faith and learn more about Scripture, please share this post with them.
For those who do not receive my emails, click on the heart (found at the right of this page) and subscribe. You will receive notifications of my blogs and verse of the week posts. I never share email addresses, and I promise you will not be inundated with messages.
Blessings, until next time.