I set up an old card table the other day. You know the kind… the legs fold out for use and fold back into the sides of the table top for ease of storage, maybe tucked behind a door or leaning discretely against a wall.
The way you set up a card table is to first hold the table top sideways as it rests on the floor on one its edges, then unfold and lock into place all the legs. When all the legs are opened and locked you grasp hold of opposite sides of the table top and set it upright on its legs. If you attempt to set it upright before all the legs are opened and locked the table will topple. It cannot stand. If you fail to lock all, some, or even one of the legs it may stand a short while but soon it will begin to twist, collapsing the unlocked leg further until once again the whole table falls.
If you want to use a card table locking all four legs is a priority.
If you want to grow as a Christian locking these four disciplines into your life is also a priority:
Prayer, Bible study, Witnessing, Fellowship.
Neglect any one of these and… Well… Just take a lesson from the card table!
Prayer is a priority because it is like air, essential at all times for survival. In prayer we exercise ‘spiritual breathing.’ We exhale our sins, our problems, our worship to God. We inhale His forgiveness, His Grace, His Word, comfort, conviction, forgiveness*. “Pray without ceasing,” urged Paul (1 Thess. 5:17). It’s that important!
Bible study is a priority because it is like food, nourishing to our spirit, instructive to our minds, health to our bodies, and souls. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Witnessing is a priority because it is like exercise; in sharing our faith we grow our faith. We develop spiritual muscle, resilience, agility in the Word, confidence and poise. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” wrote Peter (1 Pet. 3:15).
Fellowship is a priority because others can keep us accountable to continuing in the other three disciplines. We are all up and down in this journey, but we are not all up or all down at the same time. As Solomon summarized, “Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” (Eccl. 4:9,10).
These are the essentials… the four legs of faith… the prime-most of priorities… the disciplines of discipleship. If you don’t want to topple or spend your days behind a door or leaning against a wall you must lock these priorities in place.
*Yeah, I know… I mentioned “forgiveness” twice. I was gonna fix it but then I realized that often during prayer God shows us other sins in need of forgiveness. I’m leaving them both in.
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