Rowland Hill, the great evangelist and preacher, visited once a home and saw a child riding a rocking horse. After watching the little boy for some time, he said with his natural wit, "He reminds me of certain Christians. There is plenty of motion, but no progress."
Such "rocking horse" Christians are in evidence everywhere in the professing church. They are running here and there; they are taken up with much service; social service, charitable service; and service for different kinds of improve-ments. There is almost a perpetual motion in "Churchism" today. But where is the real spiritual progress?
Like the child on the rocking horse, there is no progress; and sometimes with all the motion, getting nowhere, the rocking horse instead of remaining stationary, slips back. Real spiritual progress is not achieved by continual motion in Christian service. It is conditioned on two things:
The first is prayerful, daily study of the Bible. This takes time. We do not mean the mere reading of a chapter each day, but the meditation of what God has spoken. Such intense meditation means listening to God. It is in this we keep in fellowship with our Father and with our Lord. There can be no spiritual progress without an earnest, prayerful reading of God's Word. A believer may belong to every society in Christendom, be first in every Christian service, but if he neglects the real study of God's Book, he is and remains a rocking horse Christian.
The second condition is prayer. In our long Christian experience we have found that the best incentive, the greatest encouragement to prayer is listening to His voice, as He speaks to the heart through His Word.
Thus the two go together. Only as we spend much time on our knees speaking to Him in worship, in thanksgiving, praise, supplication and intercession, do we make real progress.
Far be it from discrediting Christian service. But the genuine Christian service is the result of spiritual progress. Are you a rocking horse Christian?