Daily Christianity

The Bible clearly portrays the church as a divine institution. But the strength of any local congregation depends upon its members. If we are not spiritually strong, the church cannot be. Our spiritual strength depends upon our daily activity. We realize that many things must be done daily - eating, sleeping, etc. - but, Christianity is also a daily undertaking. Far too many people have a "Sunday religion." At this time of year, you will see people who are not usually religious expressing religious sentiments. To make our calling and election sure, to be the proper example, to yield influence for good, we must practice Christianity daily. Consider some things vital to Christianity that must be done daily.

Prayer. There can be no doubt that prayer is to be a daily part of the Christian life. Paul wrote, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus taught the importance of daily prayer when "he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1). Daniel followed the practice of daily prayer - in fact, he prayed three times a day. "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime" (Daniel 6:10). If we follow the example of prayer that Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount, we will pray daily, because he taught us to pray after this manner, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11).

Study. If we are to learn what we need to know and make that knowledge practical in daily life we must make Bible study a daily activity. This follows the example of the noble Bereans - "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11). Paul wrote, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). While the KJV renders this first word as "study," the meaning is more to the point of "endeavor." This is the way the word is translated in Ephesians 4:3. Only if we study daily can we put forth this type of effort to handle the word of God rightly. Peter put it this way, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). And he closed the final letter that we have from his pen with these words - "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).

Exhortation. The writer to the Hebrews stated, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:12, 13). This was the example of the early church - "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart" (Acts 2:46). Paul reminded the elders of the church at Ephesus of his practice in this regard - "Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears" (Acts 20:31).

Daily Teaching. The early church follow the practice of daily teaching. "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:42). This was also the practice of the apostle Paul -- "And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house" (Acts 20:20).

Cross Bearing. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). The cross was a symbol of death and dishonor, of suffering and shame. Jesus willingly bore the cross to Calvary for us. As his disciples, we should be willing to bear the cross of discipleship -- not occasionally, not once a week -- but daily. Paul wrote, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). There can be no doubt that the apostles were in the practice of daily cross bearing. After being beaten by the Jewish leaders for their faithfulness to God, "they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41).

Are you living daily for God?

Thomas W. Larkin