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This week, I was talking to a man about his family’s trip to Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. I, too, have made some trips out there recently, although not for a vacation. We both made comments about how there is a beauty to the desolate landscape. There is a peace there. Beautiful colors abound, especially as the sun rises and when it sets. Despite the barrenness, there is a section I have traveled through that has a hint of green from the thousands of Joshua trees that dot the landscape, adding to the allure of the desert landscape.
Most people don’t look forward to a trip to the desert like they would a trip to the beach or even the mountains, although some people do prefer Palm Springs over Pismo Beach. The high temperatures and remote locations aren’t that appealing. And when it comes to our spiritual lives, we prefer to be ministered to, preached at, and praised for our good works, like a nice comfortable trip to the beach or a high end resort.
But we shouldn’t avoid those trips to the spiritual desert. Christians need to spend some time developing self-discipline in their spiritual lives. Over the last few weeks, I have personally been studying and digesting some lofty Christian ideas, such as holiness, discipline and obedience. However, these thoughts come at a price. I find myself realizing that I have become lazy and comfortable in so many areas. I have compromised my own spiritual walk in order to be comfortable and entertained. Where I should be getting up earlier to spend time in the Word and prayer, I hit the snooze button and waste more of my time in bed. Where I should be calling people who need encouragement and prayer, I procrastinate so I don’t have to hear other’s problems.
I know I am not the only one who struggles with these things. We all battle against the flesh every day. Let us stop our pursuit of luxury, but let each of us resolve to pursue Christ with more intensity. As Paul reminds us in Romans 6:19, “Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness” (NIV). We have made a commitment to Christ and vowed to serve Him and others. Let’s honor that commitment through our actions in obedience to the Word of God. Let us enjoy a little time in the desert.