How would you feel if you were in a room full of people and they were talking about you as if you didn’t exist? Most of us would be offended at the rude behaviour of these people.
Let me give you another scenario. You are standing in a room with a person next to you that you know well. A person walks in that you know from the newspapers, but that you have never met. You lean over to your friend and comment on what you have read about that person in the newspaper the previous day.
Many people worship like that. They sing ABOUT God as if He is not in the room. They talk about the wonderful things He does for other people without ever experiencing real intimacy first hand.
Do you know God or do you KNOW God intimately? I want to quote a piece from a blog I wrote last year (you can read it here if you want: http://www.abroomformybrain.blogspot.com/2011/03/wedding.html)
Listen to this scripture:
Matthew 7:21-23: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Has this scripture puzzled you? How could Jesus say He never ‘knew‘ them? This word in the original Greek speaks of intimacy. With other words: “You went to church, you paid your tithes, you sang when the worship team sang, you did all the right things, you even prophesied, but you were never intimate with me“.
Are you intimate with your Lord and Savior? When last have you been? When last did you really spend quality time with God? When last did you really take the time to wait on Him and hear His voice? When last?
Are you talking TO Him or ABOUT Him?
I saw the poor palm tree yesterday. Planted in a pot. Put on an outside porch. No space to grow. The leaves were pushing against the concrete slab above it. I felt sorry for it. I stood there wishing somebody would move it out into the sunshine and into unlimited space to grow tall! And like always, the voice of God came unexpectedly, using something ordinary to touch my heart – “How tall are you?” Food for thought.
So how tall are you? Are you still growing in your relationship with Jesus? Or did you somehow move into a space where your growth is curbed? Note the words – “did YOU somehow move”? You see, it’s never God that moves – God is constant. We move away from God and then wonder what went wrong. We went wrong!
Growth is the result of a conscious decision and constant effort towards it. Growth doesn’t just happen – it takes some effort on our side. It requires sacrifices. And it isn’t easy either. Instead of reading a piece of fiction, rather read a teaching or study the word of God. Instead of listening radio on the way to work, listen worship music and worship God in the traffic. Instead of hanging out with people who have a bad influence, hang out with people who will have a Godly influence on you. I can come up with a lot of example but I am sure you understand the concept.
Let’s make a decision today to actively persue growth in Jesus. The Kingdom of God needs spiritual adults – there are far too many babies still. And don’t think you can relax when you consider yourself a spiritual adult. The evil one is prowling around, looking for those he can destroy. If you are not vigilant, you will lose the battle.
“Heavenly Father, help us to grow. Make us aware of those activities we waste time on that is not beneficial to our spiritual growth. Make us sensitive to the voice of Holy Spirit and call us to intimacy with You. Amen”
We were on the way home yesterday when my daughter made the comment. “It’s not easy to stay on the straight and narrow”. How true. Being a Christian is not easy. Staying a Christian is not easy.
Many times we are faced with question for which we don’t have answers. Many times we cannot understand why God allows certain things to happen. Many times we hurt and we silently wonder if pressing on will be worth it. Keeping our faith up is no easy task. To keep believing that God will make it all work together for the good is sometimes very difficult. To make it worse, people laught at our child like faith when everything seems to be going against us.
Do I have an answer for all of this? No I don’t. All I know is this: we need to surround ourselve with fellow Christians that will keep us standing when our knees start to buckle under the pressure. A fellow believer will keep your arms up when you have no strength left. Invest in Christian friends. Make time to attend a small group or cell group – you need support. Sooner or later, you are going to need somebody to lean on. Sooner or later, you will be the one offering support to a brother or sister who is depleted of faith and strength.
The Bible clearly says we should not give up meeting together. The above is the reason for this verse in the Bible.
If you are strong today, find somebody that needs you to keep going. If you are weak today, make a call and get somebody to keep your faith up.
Together we can stay on the straight and narrow.