I fear I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but I have to say it yet again about another book: It was so good! The Personal Spiritual Life convicted me and helped me in many ways. Dr. Peter Masters, pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, helps us navigate our way through a consistent walk with God. When finished reading this book, the Christian will be encouraged to search out the scriptures, pray more and witness for the Lord. Dr. Masters shares personal illustrations that help the believer to identify weaknesses and he debunks myths that have been perpetuated through the ages from pulpits everywhere. He also explains the spiritual gifts in a practical way, and shows us how everyone needs to work for the Lord, even be willing to participate in areas which may not necessarily be our “gifts”.
I’ll be honest, he doesn’t skirt the issues. In the chapter called “The Christian’s Personal Struggle”, he says, How dare we say to ourselves, as we give way sin, ‘It will be only this once; I will vent my anger just this time; I will covet this thing I long for, but I will not go too far.’ ‘God forbid!’ says Paul. How outrageous! Ouch.
Chapter three, which I’ve written about HERE, gives believers a practical plan of action for being holy. I’ll go ahead and outline it for you (I know you’re dying to know.) 😉
1. Recognise the problem: A serious determination to struggle against sin is the only way to live as a Christian, yet it is a stance that many professing Christians today, bombarded by worldliness and show-business information and entertainment, seem unwilling to take.
2 Have positive aims: Sin will not be broken and overcome without a longing to avoid it, and the preparation of a prior battle-plan of intentions.
3. Plan to avoid sin.
4. Keep up self-examination
5. Long for overall improvement
6. Seek spiritual help.
7. Mind heavenly things: To mind heavenly things is to be strongly drawn to spiritual study, reading and conversation; to be keenly concerned to hear about Christ’s mission in this world, and the blessings and trials of Christian workers everywhere; to be sensitive to the needs and experiences of other believers, so as to include them in our personal ministry of intercession; and to be always praying for vital opportunities to witness and encourage seekers.
8. Mortify sin. If the believer allows old sins to develop even a little, giving them free rein only for a while they will become harder to suppress.
He advises us on spiritual joy, which comes from regular Bible reading: Every day ask – What doctrine do I learn here? What reproof do I find? What duty and encouragement and promise is presented? And is my Lord and Saviour in the message?
Anyone ever told you they “felt” the Lord move or work? Dr. Masters says: They think imagined leadings, visions and words of knowledge springing into their minds are evidence of the Lord’s presence. All this is mistaken, and may sometimes be a form of proud spiritual elitism. They are no indication of the Lord’s presence. We know the presence of the Lord by faith.
He shares the importance of humility and the various ways that pride rears its ugly head in chapter eleven. Chapter twelve concludes the study by discussing our life of commitment to Christ, warning us not to live for our careers or financial success. He cautions against becoming distracted, as John Mark did in his early life. I like this quote regarding commitment, since it convicted me:
Here is a challenge for all of us. When we were first saved we witnessed a great deal. Do we still? We took every opportunity to pray for those to whom we spoke, and were eager to join in other outreach activities also. Are we still? Would Paul be able to say of us, ‘He is a fellowworker unto the kingdom of God, and has been a comfort [encouragement] unto me’?
Indeed, are we as in love with Christ as we were in beginning of our new life in Him? Or have we, like the Church of Ephesus, lost our first love? Are we truly committed, or just doing our duty? I know I have fallen into the trap of going through the motions, especially regarding my Sunday school class. I don’t want to stay that way.
Blessings to you,