If a relationship between two people is going to grow, they must have time for each other. This is true for a husband and wife, parents and children and close friends.
If a relationship between Jesus Christ and a person is going to be personal and growing, they must have time for each other. This leads to the question raised by our text, How much time do we have for Jesus Christ?
Jesus taught us, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:5). In other words, just as we have been physically born, so we must also be spiritually born. Now Peter writes to the Christians, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
Let’s review the picture that we have seen so many Sunday mornings. Parents bring their child to the baptismal font where that child is born into the Christian faith. Just as the parents take the child home to be raised, they are reminded that the child must also be raised in the teachings of God’s Word where they will learn that God has created them in His image. The Lord Jesus suffered and died for their sins so that when they walk away from Him, they might be forgiven and brought back into a personal relationship with Him.
When those youth grow up, they must take responsibility for their own spiritual growth. We must face the fact that many of our young people get too busy and have little time for God. Their schedule doesn’t include a quiet time with the Lord on a daily basis, and after a busy Saturday evening spent socializing, the thought of attending worship service is not very appealing. Soon many of them drift away. Spending time alone with God is a must in order for the relationship with Him to grow.
When we marry and have a family, life becomes more hectic. It takes discipline and a lot of planning for us, as adults, to have time alone with God. Some biographers tell us that Lincoln placed his time for meditation and prayer as top priority on his schedule. Some even show a picture of his little son, Thad, going into Lincoln’s office and finding the President on his knees in prayer.
Whether it is the President of the United States or the cleaning lady, each person needs time with God in His Word if their relationship will continue to be personal.
Someone could have asked Peter what he meant in our text about that growing relationship with God. In verse one the Apostle writes, “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and gossip of every kind.”
It’s interesting that even 2,000 years ago Christians were fighting some of the same sins that we are fighting today. Now think about this setting in our lives. It is time for us to be alone with God in His Word.
Deceit This word means to be two-faced, out to deceive others. If you try to win the favor of a person, it might be quite beneficial to play a double-hand in order to present yourself as something you really are not. Could your wife ever say, “My husband is a real charmer. It took me a long time to really know him.” Then you ask yourself if that is how others see you or are you a person they can count on to be true blue? Maybe you and God should spend time working on that weakness.
Hypocrisy This sin is often related to the church. Haven’t you heard people talk about Christians being hypocrites Ð acting one way on Sunday and another way on Monday? The hypocrite uses his tongue to pray on Sunday and curse on Monday.
How do our children see us? Do we profess to be something that we are not?
Envy William Barclay writes, “It may be said that envy is the last sin to die.” As long as self remains active within a man’s heart, there will be envy. We do not have to be engaged in church work very long to discover what perennial source of trouble envy is.
Gossip Everyone admits it is wrong, but we still seem to enjoy it.
How can I gain victory over some of these sins?
Christians who have been given the new birth must also grow. We mature by letting God work in us through his Word. The same truth that gave us birth also nourishes us. The Christian needs to be addicted to the Bible.
This is not just moralizing. It is letting God take over in our lives to make us new people in Christ. Give God some of your time and he will make you a new person.