Back in April 2003, I was in church worshipping and had an experience in which I was overwhelmed by the fact that many people were worshiping a god of their own creation, not truly knowing God to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
I was staggered and had to sit down. This was in the midst of 3,000 worshipers.
I went home and could not think. But even as I lay there, I finally realized that what I had heard was true. As I examined my own heart by the light of the Spirit over the last few months, I realized that I was one of those people.
How can it be that I really don’t know the Lord? I gave my life to Christ twenty-six years ago on a cold, starry February night in the chill air of a Christian camp in Ohio. I’ve prayed, ministered in dozens of ministries, been baptized with the Holy Spirit (ironically at the same camp in a February years later), pursued a degree in Christian Ed, and certainly influenced lives in a number of places.
Truth is, over the years I was lulled to sleep. Much of that is my own fault, but I also believe that some of that fault rests with what is happening to American Christianity. We are falling asleep or abandoning the Truth altogether at an ever-increasing rate.
I’ve talked to others since that time and I am appalled by what people are telling me about what is going on in their Christian walk. More and more dedicated Christians are revealing to me that they really don’t know the Lord, either.
Now this is not a matter of salvation – at least I don’t believe it is in most cases – but it says how easily we have let the world consume us with its vacuous thrills and empty promises.
How many of us spend the hours a day needed in order to really know God? Is a half hour quiet time going to get us all that much closer to knowing the deep things of the Infinite One? How much of the Bible do I have memorized? If it really is so transforming, why have I not memorized it from cover to cover? We’ve held on to things that don’t matter and forsaken the eternal in favor of perishing things. We all know what they are, so I don’t have to state them all here.
I hope to think that like Paul, the scales are falling from my eyes and I am seeing the depths of how far we have fallen.
Through all this, I have realized that effort is needed and have been girding my own loins, so to speak. I hope to discuss all this here in days to come, but the point still remains that if we as the Church want to live out our calling we cannot let this continue.
Long ago, God called me to be a Barnabas that raised up Pauls. Perhaps now is the time for that to kick into high gear.
Do you really know Christ? Do you settle for tiny fragments of Him even though the fullness of His life can be lived in yours? Have you really died to this world at the foot of the cross? Are the sick healed when you lay hands on them? When you minister, do you get the feeling that it is mostly your own effort rather than the Spirit moving in power through you?
Good. Keep on asking those questions and let yourself be disturbed by the answers.
Then let’s do something about it.