Tuesday, March 2, 2010

When Did The Fire Burn Out?

Before we get started on the next chapter, I want to take a moment to talk about something that has been weighing on my heart. It saddens me to see so many people in the church living life for themselves instead of God, chasing worldly accomplishments in exchange for empty human praise, and helping the enemy to shout lies while barely whispering God's truths into the ears of fellow believers as well as unbelievers.

And the worst part is that so many of us have no idea that we're even doing it. We get so caught up in going through the motions that we forget about what really matters. When confronted with the real issues, we defend ourselves by saying that we're going to church, attending bible study, maybe even leading that bible study, and serving in the church. And while those things are great, they are not the full extent of what God has called us to.

Think of it in terms of tithing. We are required, as believers, to tithe, which literally means 10% of your income. That is something that we should all do out of obedience to God, but as a teacher of mine once said, a tithe is a great place to start but a horrible place to stop. We should never be content in just giving the requirement, and our lives are no different. We should never cease to say, what else can I give you God. We should be on our knees asking God to challenge us, eager to stand up and be bold for our King.

I'm sure you've all heard the saying that if you feel like you're under attack, you must be doing something right. The point is that Satan and his demons are very real. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12. If the enemy finds it necessary to beat you down, it is probably because you are fighting the battle for the Lord, and he doesn't like it. Likewise, if everything in your life has settled and you find yourself comfortable and complacent, it might be safe to assume that there is nothing in your life worthy of the enemy's attack. We should never allow ourselves to reach a place where we are content to sit back and watch the world go by.

Remember the words of Jesus from these verses and ask yourself, does my life coincide with the message He is sending:

"Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34

"If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you." John 15:18-19 Have you come out of the world? How well do you fit in with this world?

"They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin." John 15:22 Are you avoiding asking the hard questions in your life because you're afraid of what the answers might be? Are you afraid that God might ask you to do something extreme? Are you afraid to challenge others to the same calling?

"What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!" Matthew 10:27 Are you listening for God's whisper, or are you too busy living your life the way you want to live it? And are you willing to take His message and shout it? Just because our world views of what's considered politically correct have changed over the last 2000 years, doesn't mean God's message has. Are you willing to be as bold as the first disciples were?

"Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world...You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold." Matthew 24:7,9b-12 Does this sound familiar? Jesus said that no one but the Father knows the day and hour that Christ will return for his church, but He gave us more than enough information to know when that time is drawing near. As one writer has recently said on his blog, "But 'day and hour' is a very narrow slice of time. By giving us at least 15 other specific signs that would be happening in the last days, Jesus clearly wanted us to know when the time of his return was rapidly approaching." -Joel Rosenberg. If we look at the signs, if we take the time to study the prophecies of Ezekiel, Daniel, and throughout the new and old testaments, we can see that our Savior is coming back very soon.

And somehow, the church has gotten the impression that we have time to waste, that our lives would be better spent seeking fulfillment in our careers and gaining the praise and admiration of our peers, spending our days fretting over finding a husband or a wife or trying desperately to have kids (or not have kids), running in circles trying to get those kids to five different places on a Tuesday night instead of sitting them all down as a family and spending time studying God's word, idolizing the "heros" of this world and trying to be like them, instead of dropping everything and falling down at our Savior's feet, begging to be transformed into his image.

We have gotten so caught up in doing the things we're "supposed" to do, that we have forgotten it is the way we handle the rest of our lives that matters. What happens after you leave church, leave the bible study, and go home. How do the parts of your life that have nothing to do with church reflect the image of Christ? What are your priorities? What are the things that get you excited? What makes you giddy? Is it a show on television? Is it your job? Is it your spouse? Is it your kids? There is nothing wrong with taking pleasure in the wonderful gifts God has given us, but do those things define you? What if tomorrow, you found yourself in Job's position, with your family gone, your job taken away, your friends deserted you, and faced with complete physical turmoil? Would you still have joy? Would you still have peace? Is Christ the TRUE focus of your life? Are you standing up and preaching that message to those around you? If not, why not? And what are you going to do about it?

1 comment:

  1. a very challenging and thought provoking post. Thanks!