Hymn text by William W. Phelps, 1792-1872. View the full text of this hymn.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

There are some things that seem obvious in hindsight, but that go unnoticed until someone points them out. I recently had a realization along those lines:

You will develop skills and attributes only to the extent that you spend time on them.

A few applications of this law:

If you say you want to develop faith, but never spend time building your faith, then your faith will not grow.

If you say you want to better understand the scriptures, but never spend time reading the scriptures, then you will not understand the scriptures better.

If you say you want to be more like Christ, but spend little or no time doing the things Christ did, then you will not be more like Christ.

Most church members, if asked, could probably give a reasonable 10 minute talk on “How to be more Christlike” or “How to build your faith.” Prayer, scripture study, service—it’s not hard to come up with the right answers. But no matter how much we claim to want them, nothing will change unless we actually do them.

If you never seem to have time for scripture study, then you’ll never seem to get the blessings scripture study brings. If you never spend time pondering the teachings of Christ, you’ll never gain new insights.

The hymn ”We’re Not Ashamed To Own Our Lord” opens with its titular phrase:

We’re not ashamed to own our Lord
And worship him on earth.

The rest of the hymn lists blessings that come from “owning the Lord,” from openly and transparently following him throughout our lives. It especially talks about the glories of Christ’s millennial reign for the righteous on either side of death. These are great blessings, awesome and marvelous.

But they only apply to the extent that we actually follow Christ. Are we ashamed to talk about gospel topics with our friends, regardless of the day of the week? Are we too tired to get up early and read our scriptures? Do our secular interests crowd out our spiritual needs?

Before creation’s second birth,
We hope with him to stand.

We do indeed hope to stand with Christ. But hope is not enough—we must take action. If that hope is to be fulfilled, we need to spend time on it. We need to prepare ourselves for that day, just as He is preparing the world at large.

What do you spend your time on?

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