As I continue to seek ways to simplify my life, I’m amazed at how complex it continues to grow. There seems to be a never-ending flow of demands on my time, opportunities to pursue, and responsibilities with which to engage. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your experience is similar. We are a busy generation of humans. As I often tell my team at work, being busy is not synonymous with being productive.

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I fear many of us have allowed our lives to become so busy we cannot be productive for the Kingdom. We’re so consumed with the fleeting things of this world we are missing out on the great eternal work left to be done.

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Spiritual warfare is a real and ever-present occurrence in the life of a disciple of Jesus. We spend most of our days fighting off Satan. Whether it’s in the subtlety of the decisions we make each day or getting smacked in the face with a major challenge to our faith, for as long as we are seeking to follow Christ we’ll be fighting off Satan. On our own, we’ll lose every time. Our sinful, physical beings are no match for the dark spiritual forces swirling about us.

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But Jesus not only can defeat Satan, He already has. Satan is no longer any match for those who are allowing Christ to live through them. Knowing this, why do we so often succumb to the temptations of the devil? Why are we not finding more success standing against him?

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Constant prayer has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have a near constant dialog going with God. Somedays it’s more conversational, others it can just be a series of “I love You” or “Thank You” prayers being sent His way. Praying continuously is something I do without thinking. It wasn’t something I planned one day, it’s just how it is for me. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t like this.

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Even when times are difficult, the prayer continues. While there are plenty of other areas with which I struggle, this one isn’t a huge concern for me in this season of my life. Still, I recognize continuous prayer doesn’t come as easy to many. Knowing this, I wanted to spend some time looking at Scripture and talking through the discipline of praying continuously.

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Jeremy Camp has written a song titled, “The Same Power”. It reminds us the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in us. How often do we live as if this is true? We spend our days trying to solve problems in our own strength. We never want to be seen as incapable or weak. Our image often seems to be our primary concern. Jesus said He is glorified through our weakness. Indeed, it is only when we humble ourselves enough to say we can’t do it on our own that His power is allowed to manifest itself in our lives.

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He longs to fill and equip us with His strength but gives us the option to accept it or not. He leaves it up to us to decide if we will call upon the power residing within us through His Spirit, or choose to attempt to conquer this world on our own.

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We should all want to be fierce followers of Christ. As a people, it seems Christians have lost a lot of the aggressiveness of those who came before us. For whatever reason, it has become fashionable for Christ followers to cower into passivity, doing whatever necessary to keep from offending anyone. This isn’t the life we saw modeled by Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to step on some toes when necessary. While he was the most gentle, caring, and loving person to ever walk this planet, He also possessed a sharp tongue and an intense passion for the truth.

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He didn’t let those who were perverting the truth slide by unnoticed; He called them out. Jesus pointed out what was wrong with the world and rebuked demonic influences in it. He was as quick to chastise those teaching false standards of living as He was to gently heal a person trapped in a life they did not want to live.

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As disciples of Jesus, our goal is to ever be drawing closer to Him. We want to know Him better, to understand Him on a deeper level, and to love Him more. Satan has other plans. The entire focus for Satan is to keep each Christ-follower unbalanced and distracted.  Sometimes he does this by insinuating himself into tragedies and disappointments we encounter. More often, Satan’s modus operandi is to subtly influence us to look away from God.

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The devil needs only catch the corner of our eye to accomplish his purpose. Whenever we can be influenced to not have our entire focus on God, Satan claims a victory. He is the master of distraction, and his distractions will erode both our walk and our faith.

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I love this quote from real estate mogul Gary Keller: “We don’t determine our lives; we determine our habits, and our habits determine our lives.” That’s great advice for life and general, but I think it is quite applicable for our Christian walk as well. What habits are you building into your life that will lead you to live wholly devoted to God?

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Discipleship never happens by accident. It’s not something we stumble into. Discipleship is a choice, one we must make every day. To continue making the discipleship choice each day, we’re going to need habits in our lives to make this easier. Our habits form the disciplines essential for discipleship.

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Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” As someone who writes thousands of words each week, this is especially relevant and convicting to me. However, you don’t have to be a writer to need to learn this lesson. If we don’t measure our words, odds are we’re going to say things dishonoring to God, hurtful to others, and regretful to ourselves. Usually, it will be all the above.

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Jesus’s brother James warned our tongues could not be tamed and could start great, destructive fires (James 3:5-9). Paul instructed us to only speak words of encouragement, never saying derogatory or inflammatory things (Ephesians 4:29-32). In a world enamored with social media, it has never been more important to measure your words.

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What fears and excuses get in the way of you living on mission for Christ? What keeps you from living the life He created you to live? If Jesus was, at some point in your life, worth surrendering your life to Him, I’m going to assume you meant it. I will presume you do not wake every day contemplating ways to live in opposition to His Kingdom and His plan.

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My guess is you want to live your life for Him. You want to be the person He created you to be, because you understand you will never find true peace, joy, and fulfillment any other way. If all this is true, what are the reasons you have for not living on mission?

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Recently I was reading some A.W. Tozer and was hit by these words: “Men and women are being molded by their affinities, shaped by their affections and powerfully transformed by the artistry of their loves. In the unregenerate world of Adam, this produces, day by day, tragedies of cosmic proportions.” Take a moment to read that again. Let it sink in. Every day, we are being molded by what we are choosing to love.

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Our lives are framed by those things to which we are giving our attention. We choose. We decide how our lives will be shaped. For most of us, circumstances have occurred over which we’ve had no control. Some of these are so horrific we cannot help but have them shape who we are. But most of what we allow to shape our lives is by our choice. And most of it is not healthy.

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