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During the American Civil War over 600,000 soldiers lost their lives as a result of the idealistic promotion of thoughts and undertakings that were interpretations of self-interests. People were drawn onto opposing sides in which each thought they were right. A Nation founded expressly to pursue religious freedom became a Country divided against itself. It was the North versus the South. Federal Government versus State Rights. Anti-Slavery versus Pro-Slavery. Industrialization versus the Cotton Fields. The issues became incendiary coals waiting for someone to strike the match. Families were divided. Politics was birthed with its brother corruption. The world watched as this prototype of God’s earthly Kingdom tumbled into chaos. As difficult as it is to understand how the issues of division could have resulted in such human carnage, it is equally staggering to grasp its similarity to the Christian Civil War.
Satan is the great divider. Ever since Cain and Abel, man has opposed one another over the issue of Religion. God makes it very clear that He hates those “that sow discord among brothers.” (Prov. 6:19b) Yet today, Believers are attacking one another for not understanding Scripture in the same way they do. When Elijah stood before God, after being intimidated by Jezebel, he cried out to God that he was the only one left who was preaching truth. He felt that he was the only true bearer of God’s Word. God listened to the self-absorbed prophet cry out in his despair, and then simply told Elijah that He had seven thousand followers who were still loyal to Him. (I Kings 19:9-18) There is an “Elijah Complex” that has been manifested by so many spiritual leaders today. They feel they are the only ones with a true understanding of the Word. They oppose those who do not share their interpretation, even to the point of verbal attacks and anti-propaganda. John rebuked another Believer for casting out demons simply because that person was not in the same “denomination” as the disciples. Jesus rebuked John by telling him that a person who would do a miracle in His name was not someone to worry about, for if he is not against Him, he is for Him. (Mk 9:38-40) Paul, writing from prison, stated that however the Truth was preached, he rejoiced. (Philippians 1:18)
To hear Pastors and Teachers call their fellow servants false prophets, enemies of Christ, and proponents of Satan’s kingdom grieves me to the point of experiencing a wounded heart. Why can’t the redeemed of the Lord adopt the rhetoric of Gamaliel when the Jewish Council faced the interrogation of Peter? He simply said that if it was not of God, it would not succeed. (Acts 5:38, 39) The Christian Civil War is dividing families, communities, churches and, tragically, the Body of Christ. Satan applauds the disharmony, knowing that as long as the Church is divided, less and less people will be brought into God’s fading Kingdom. Intolerance and exclusiveness seems to be the flag of the Christian nation. Not only is the influx of potential believers being curtailed by the infighting of Christians, but many young Christians are running for the doors to escape the cruelty that is being shown towards one another.
Whenever the servant of God becomes the focal point of the Gospel, there will always be the reality of disharmony. Whenever the messenger of God pronounces destructive criticism, there will always be divisions. Whenever a ministry enters into sectarian theology, there will always be a separation of Believers. Whenever a Pastor/Teacher causes his flock to oppose those who have different interpretations of the Truth, there will always be hindrances to achieving spiritual maturity. May we all strive to see the fulfillment of Jesus prayer that all His followers would be “perfected in unity” so that the world would know who sent Him and would believe in Him. (John 17: 21, 23 NAS)
As we continue on our course to a life ending reality, there is a search for purpose and meaning to life. To the older generation, it is a time of reflection. There is an evaluation of past accomplishments and failures. Questions are entertained as to what contributions they have made to society. Will they be remembered for their service to God and country? Will they say that their deeds have made their community a better place? Will they claim they have lived up to their purpose in life?
To the younger generation who has started the race of life, there is a whole different mentality of searching for the reason for their existence. I have seen so many young people struggling to define who they are and what their purpose is in life. To the teenager who has graduated and left the family nest, the world awaits their arrival. The enticements offered to the seeking novice take the form of sensual satisfaction. Pleasure and fleshly fulfillment are flouted as the way to happiness. If they take the “lure,” they will find only temporary joy. Problems arise when their new found experience tends to fade out and the search begins again for purposeful identity.
A short time ago, I shared with a young person that the Bible contains the answer for why she exists. Immediately, she moved from openness into a defensive posture. She stated emphatically that she wanted nothing to do with the church. She claimed that the only difference between Christians and her is that they go to church. She stated that she worked with Christians and their public life style was just as messed up as her life. The younger generation today is more discerning than we give them credit. They can spot a phony a mile away. They would rather have someone reach down and help them gain their footing, than to be preached at by individuals who display inconsistencies. What they are searching for is authenticity. They are equally tired of experimenting with the things of the world and finding no lasting satisfaction.
If the Church truly has the answer for the seeking, we need to realize that we must exhibit the Truth, not only by our words, but by our life style and behavior. If we can’t live the life we promote, we need to hide in our church buildings until we are ready to practice what we say we believe.
The message to our younger generation is they cannot define their purpose in life by way of the created; rather it is through the Creator. The Bible makes it clear that man exists for God. (I Cor. 8:6 NAS) Our whole purpose in life is to be available for God to use us in whatever capacity He chooses. To be able to respond to His beckoning call, we must realize that we also exist through Jesus. (v.6b) Every day we need to desire God’s will for our lives. The more we study the Bible the more we become aware of His desire and purpose for our life. We are called to have fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ and to be instruments of His Grace to a seeking world.
Realizing why we are here, brings purpose to life. It is no longer what I want; rather, it is what God wants. Understanding that our life is in God’s hands, makes our journey productive and purposeful. We exist for God through Jesus Christ. That is why we are here. Have a happy journey!
There are some great actors and actresses that entertain us with their gift of role playing. It is enjoyable to see plays and screen performances that carry one into imaginary scenarios. From grade school to the theater stage and the golden screen, there is the journey from giggles to standing ovations for those who dare to express a role of make-believe and character adaptation.
Some of the greatest performances today are not on the stage and screen of the theaters, but in the pulpits and pews/chairs of the churches. Some of the best performances for a leading role belong to Pastors whose life style, outside of the pulpit, is more conducive to an entrepreneur who strives to be a co-owner of “the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Ps. 50:10) Many churches are alive with actors and actresses instead of disciples and believers. Some are role playing instead of living a life as a follower of Jesus. Some learn the language, but only speak it around other actors. Some open the pew Bibles on Sunday, but leave their own Bibles closed during the week. Some join in corporate prayer, but fail to carry on a conversation with God daily. Some exhibit faith in small challenges, but fail to walk in faith during difficult times. Some keep their wallets closed to the Lord, but open to their own needs and wants. Some role-play how well things are going, when in reality they are struggling. We can fool all the people some of the time, but we can’t fool God any of the time. Your fellow actors may nominate you for an outstanding performance in the appearance category, but will you hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you stand before the Lord? (Matt. 25:21)
Hypocrisy is playing a part under an assumed name. It is imitating or impersonating another. The Bible speaks of hypocrisy, or a form of the word, 36 times. Jesus addresses the issue 19 times in the three synoptic gospels. It was the religious community that received the blunt of His chastisement. The Jewish leadership taught Biblical truths, interspersed with editorials and interpretative teaching, but the real problem was that they were not living what they expounded. Today, Satan would nominate his demons for best supporting actors in their role of playing innocent teachers in sheep’s clothing. Special Effects would go to his evil spirits for their performances in changing the content of God’s Word to mean something completely different than what was intended by the writer. Nominations for best actor would go to Christians who imitate true Believers. Original musical score would go to churches that have carnal beats with Christian lyrics.
The entertainment value of “playing church” is immensely satisfying. To some actors and actresses there is the satisfaction of attending Worship once a week. But to the true Believer, the Sunday experience is a pause that refreshes; it is a time of refueling and fellowship with other Saints that have been living their week in service of their Lord.
Let each one of us take a closer look at our lives. Are we playing a role, or are we the real thing? Have we memorized our lines, or are we a living epistle? Are we walking our talk? Are we truly contending for the faith, or are we just spectators waving the flag of allegiance? If we walk like a hypocrite and talk like a hypocrite, then we must be a hypocrite. If we want God to be true to us, let us learn to be true to Him!
Attitude is a manner of showing one’s feelings or thoughts. Throughout life we have all displayed emotions that have demonstrated both our positive and our negative reactions to different situations. Body language, as well as our words, has been the conveyor of these attitudes. It doesn’t take much to have our thoughts and feelings exhibited for everyone to see and experience. If we display a positive attitude, it will be easier to experience the Grace of God. When we exhibit a negative demeanor, sin will be at the door of our minds, ready to entice us to sinful action.
Cain and Abel were born outside the confines of the Garden of Eden. They were raised under the authority of their parents. They were taught what was right and what was wrong by the self determination of Adam and Eve. It was possible the under parental upbringing, their children were taught to bring an offering to the Lord. Thus, it was through the blood sacrifice that the “Adam’s family” acknowledged their responsibility for sin. Knowing the importance of bringing an offering before the Lord, Abel brought a lamb, while Cain presented fruit. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but “regarded not” Cain’s offering. God’s rejection of Cain’s offering triggered a response in Cain that showed, through his countenance and attitude, his independence from God. The Bible says he was “very angry and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4:5) God warned Cain that sin was waiting at his door and, if he did not resist, sin would control him. (Gen. 4:7) Within days, Abel would lie dead at the hands of his brother. As with his parents, Cain chose not to heed God’s warning.
God asked Cain five questions: (1) “Why are you angry?” (2) “Why has your countenance fallen?” (Facial expression) (3) “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (4) “Where is Abel your brother?” and (5) “What have you done?” Cain’s only response to these questions was that he did not know where Abel was, and why was it his responsibility to keep track of his brother? (Gen 4:9) Anger develops when one’s deeds are not in harmony with the righteous acts of the obedient. (I John 3:12) Jealousy and envy are the roads to separation from God. If only Cain had acknowledged that his deeds were in conflict with God, Abel’s blood would not have been shed. Through the attitude of Cain, sin had gained a foothold which would cause him to slip even further from God.
I have noticed over the last few years, a ridiculing and dismissal of ministries that promote positive thinking. Opponents of these “attitude” teachers have even gone so far as to expose them as “false teachers.” Where do we get the idea that having a positive attitude about our self is detrimental to achieving spiritual truth? When we realize what a Believer becomes through Jesus Christ, we cannot help but develop an attitude that exemplifies the joy that resides within us. Is not our spiritual altitude related to our attitude? Attitude is the window through which people see what we are experiencing. If, on the other hand, a positive attitude is taught as a substitute for Biblical Truth, then we have made a critical error. But if that attitude promotes the reality of who we are in Christ, the doorway to greater spiritual truth will be opened. Negative attitudes within Believers tend, at the best, to promote the Law; whereas positive attitudes display God’s Grace. Cain’s attitude opened the door to “evil deeds,” while Abel’s attitude welcomed the “righteous” deeds. (I John 3:12) Do we have the right attitude?
Many years ago, I spent a great deal of my waking hours striving to achieve and perfect the physical attributes with which God had blessed me. I chose to pursue an athletic endeavor that would bring accolades, not only to me, but to my family and friends. I have to admit that I became very successful, but at the pinnacle of the experience there was a strange disappointment, a void that could not be filled with physical achievement. Today, our society flaunts the sculptured body as the avenue to self worth. Advertisements flood the media with offers on how to achieve physical perfection. If you are fat, you can lose it; if you are skinny, you can gain muscle; if you are out of shape, you can shape up; and if you have sticks for arms, you can bulk up. Athletic clubs and work out facilities are billion dollar businesses. What is amazing is the effort people take to achieve the temporary things, while neglecting the things that are eternal. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that bodily exercise will profit only so much, whereas “godliness is profitable unto all things” because it brings the promises of real life now, and the joy of life to come. (I Tim. 4:8) It all comes down to what is more important, the body or the spirit man. We all need to take care of our body, for it is the “temple of the Holy Spirit,” (I Cor. 6:19) but to misappropriate our time by perfecting our bodies, while at the same time ignoring our spirits, is to miss the mark.
Recently, there has been a reign of terror that has penetrated the confines of human comfort. Weather extremes have changed the lay of the land. Snow, fire, rain, wind, and vacillating temperatures have played havoc with the unsuspecting populist. Charges have been leveled that warnings were not issued to the unsuspecting public. Not only has nature unleashed its forces of destruction, but Satan has paralleled nature’s terror with terror of his own. When one sees what is happening to our Country, there can be little doubt as to who is leading the assault. While the sins of the flesh are pushing God and His Word to a place of obscurity, the Church is “fiddling while Rome burns.” My heart breaks when I see darkness continue to snuff out any light that magnifies God. Where is the Church during this warfare? I hate to say it, but the Church is ill trained and equipped to launch a counterattack against the forces of darkness! Many Christians are not in spiritual shape. The spiritual exercises of building up their “Biblecepts” and “prayercepts” have been ignored. The Armor of God has been laid aside because so many have filed for “conscientious objector” status. I have seen the Church turn inward instead of fighting the good fight of faith. WARNING! If the Church does not wake up, not only will this great land of ours be lost to the forces of wickedness, but the Church will lose what little effectiveness it now has. Jesus said that when He returns would He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)
The Church is losing its vision. We have lost sight of who is the real enemy. We are preaching messages of prosperity instead of spiritual warfare. While we teach “seed faith,” Satan is planting IED’s. Where are the recruits who are lining up to “fight the good fight of faith”? (I Tim. 6:12) Where is the call to arms? Where is the Pastoral recruiter who proclaims that if we are going to stand against the forces of evil, we must put on the whole armor of God? (Eph. 6:11) We must do more than punch our religious time cards on Sunday and then disappear into the swarms of humanity during the week. A good soldier of Christ will start from his knees, and then stand on the promises of God’s Word. He will then put on the armor of God and start defending his house as well as reclaiming his community, city, state and country. The true Believer will defend God’s Word, while at the same time mounting a spiritual offense against spiritual wickedness. Every soldier needs to learn to identify his weaknesses so he will be better able to anticipate how Satan will attack him. We are not to be ignorant of the devices of the Devil. Let us learn that forewarned is to be forearmed.
If Eve and Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life they would have lived forever in a garden of endless possibilities, yet Eve chose to believe a lie instead of trusting in her Creator. What is so incredible about this narrative is that Adam willfully and deliberately was a witness to the whole dialogue between the serpent and his helpmate. He knew what the consequences would be if they ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, yet when Eve gave it to him, he ate. (I Tim. 2:14) The word eat is to “consume or devour.” They did not just take a bite, but ate the whole fruit. Every mouthful would drive them further from their fellowship with God. What would have happened if Eve would have taken a little taste and then spit it out? Would there have been any hope of rectifying the wrong before it consumed her? What if Adam had stopped Eve from taking the fruit? The first thing they realized after feasting on the fruit was that they were naked. Whatever was going through their minds gave them uneasiness. The difference in their anatomies must have caused them to wonder why they were different. Until they could understand what it all meant, they made themselves aprons from the fig leaves to cover their uniqueness. As they stood in the garden trying to process the bombardment of new thoughts, they heard God’s voice. This must have caused a new emotion, fear, to surface. Afraid of God, they hid themselves in the trees of the garden. I wonder how long they thought they could avoid God. Soon God came in the “cool of the day” to walk with His creations. Instead of seeing the happy couple running to meet Him, God called out, “Where are you?” Unable to hide any longer, Adam stepped forward and blurted out that he heard Him calling but was afraid, and also he was hiding because of his nakedness. I don’t believe the real reason he hid from God was because of his nudity, but because he was afraid of facing God.
Adam would blame Eve for his misstep, but indirectly he was really blaming God. If God had not given him Eve, he would not be in this situation. Eve blamed everything on the serpent who had tricked her. Neither one wanted to accept responsibility for their error. It is interesting to note that God’s punishment to Adam was not so much the result of his eating what he was not to even touch, but that he took Eve’s word over His. God stated that the consequences Adam would suffer were in direct correlation to his “listening to the voice of his wife.” (Gen. 3:17) I wonder what Eve said to Adam that caused him to walk into complete disobedience? Adam was sentenced to hard labor of farming the ground. For Eve, one of her consequences was that her desire in life would be to her husband and he would rule over her. If only Eve had submitted unto Adam! If Adam had only been the leader he was supposed to be! What would have happened if they both took responsibility for their actions? Would the consequences of their sin been any different?
The Gospel is Grace’s equivalent of the Tree of Life. Whoever takes and eats of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will live forever. Satan will attempt to get man to eat of his trees and neglect the Gospel Tree in the midst of life. Satan will attempt to draw people into his world by using the same tactics he did in the Garden of Eden. First, he challenges one’s perception of God’s Word. He attempts to dilute the Word by saying God did not really mean what He said. Satan wants people to question God’s Word. Arrows of doubt are constantly shot into the minds of the unexpected. Secondly, the forbidden fruits are presented in such beautiful and enticing ways. Satan will challenge you to make your own decisions as to what is right and what is wrong. Thirdly, he will attempt to get the individual to influence other people to follow the Eden path. God’s creations must not be ignorant of Satan’s tricks and devices. (II Cor. 2:11)
The difference between the Eden tree and the Calvary tree is that there is always forgiveness through Jesus Christ. If you make a mistake, take the responsibility and ask God for forgiveness. Follow God’s Word and you will not be disappointed. Do your own thing and you will suffer the consequences.
Sometime in our life we have all received a promise from the Lord. When we have the assurance that God has heard our prayer and has opened the door of opportunity, the only thing left for us to do is to experience the reality of His promise. The problem is that we fall short in accepting His assurance and acting on it. I remember an individual who had petitioned God for a certain job. When the opportunity of employment presented itself, she found that there were certain tests and examines that she was to take to see if she would qualify the position. The expected response of joy was shrouded with signs of doubt and anxiety. Statements like, “What if I don”t pass the tests,” and “Suppose the interviewer doesn’t like me?” began to flow as water over a fire. Satan attempts to squash the promises of God with doubts. Whenever God responds to our requests with assurance, we can be assured that Satan will try to get us to operate with feelings instead of faith. Many people fall short of the promises of God because they fall for the tricks of Satan. If you must doubt something, doubt your doubts.
I read in a recent periodical that there are people in this country who have not claimed money that rightfully belongs to them. As a public service, there are publications that list names of people who might have money owed them. Names are published with the statement, “If you know this person or you are the individual, contact this number right away.” Suppose there was a Christian publication that lists every believer who has failed to claim what was rightly given to them by God through Jesus Christ! How many would quickly respond? I have seen so many Believers suffering needlessly because they have failed to bring into reality the promises of God.
When Satan challenged Jesus in the Wilderness, Jesus responded with, “It is written.” Jesus knew the Word and no matter what Satan used to entice Him, he could not shake Jesus’ understanding of the Word. How well do you know your Bible? When Satan attempts to cast doubt on the reality of God’s Word know how to nullify his attacks with Scripture. We need to come to the place where we stand up and say, “I don’t care what the devil tries to do, God’s Word is my sword and shield!” When Satan tries to introduce doubt, it is time to shout the victory. When Satan tries to bring fear, realize the Lord is near. When Satan tells you, “You can’t,” stand tall and say, “I can.”
The next time the Lord “begins” to answer your prayer, realize there may be some things you need to do before the fullness of His response becomes reality. Also, when you pray, learn to ask in faith without any wavering and you will see the invisible becoming visible. Take one day at a time and begin to see the answer to your prayer take shape.
One of the favorite exercises of Christians today is to scan the Word of God with selective glasses. We will pick a certain book of the Bible and then read through a selected chapter in anticipation of choosing a Scripture that will minister to us. What we are looking for is a “word” from the Word that will benefit our emotional and spiritual cravings. The Bible becomes a “goody” bag in which we reach our eyes into the treasure chest and pull out verses with which we can live. I am not minimizing searching the Word. But if we are only looking for the verses we have underlined and not “the rest of the story,” our spiritual growth will be severely impaired.
The concept of picking and choosing Scripture has been around for generations. To piecemeal God’s Word is a spiritual crime. It is called “contextual robbery.” To pick out certain ingredients form the Word and then make a doctrine from it is irresponsible. Everyday more and more fragments of the body of Christ are splintered off and formed into yet another assembly of believers. The church is like a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle; instead of a beautiful picture of Jesus, we have a mass of pieces each trying to display His image to a seeking world.
If the Bible is the Word of God, we must take seriously all of its content and not choose only to believe and implement that with which we are comfortable. What about foot washing? What about going to someone who has offended you and telling them how they hurt you? What about selling what you have and giving it to the poor? What about forgiving one another? What about denying yourself and taking up your cross? What about being a servant before you try to be a saint? How do we interpret Mark 10:11 “Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her?” With so many Scriptures, we take our “eraser” and remove them from the consciousness of our minds. To offset the erasure, we flip the pencil to mark our acceptable Scriptures. The “Holy Grail” of justifying transference from Law to Grace is Malachi 3:8-10. Sermons on tithing are the bread and butter of so many ministries today. When are we going to learn the concept that spiritual growth effects financial giving, not the Law of 10%? The next time you open your Bible, why not pick and choose the Books you have neglected, and learn about the things you did not underline. Pick and choose Scriptures that benefit others more than yourself. It is not a question of what you can get from God, but of what you get to do for the Kingdom.
The question must arise as to what Scriptures apply to us today. If we try to examine Scripture intellectually, we will end up with human interpretations, which will make the Church a powerless form. The Holy Spirit is the key to completing the Christian jigsaw puzzle. Let the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth. Let Him show us how to apply God’s Word. He will show us a beautiful picture of Jesus, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation.
Dear God, please help us to rightly divide Your Word. May we not add or subtract, but take Your whole Word as You intend it for us. In Jesus name, Amen.
The enticement Satan offered to Eve was a life altering experience that would affect not only Eve and Adam, but would begin a war against God that would last throughout all future generations. The disobedience of this couple was not the central issue. The disobeying of God’s Word only opened the door to the real consequences of eating the forbidden fruit. Satan was once an archangel known as Lucifer. His authority grew to the point that he thought he would challenge God and become “like the most high.” (Is. 14:12-15) He failed, and eventually was expelled from the Heavenly realm to the atmosphere of earth. Many of Satan’s angels were also expelled and cast into hell to be reserved unto judgment. (cf. II Peter 2:4) From that moment on, Satan declared war on God.
Satan, the ultimate strategist, decided to entice Eve into seeing the possibility of achieving a status equal to God. “…Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God…” (Gen 3:5) Satan failed to “be like the most high,” but if he could get Eve and Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit, they could achieve what he had failed to achieve. They could, in effect, decide what was good or evil. While Satan failed to achieve the Throne, he could now influence those who became like God. The dye was cast, and man began his rejection of God. Cain became angry when God was not pleased with his offering. God warned him, if he chose to continue in his self directed path, sin would be waiting at his door desiring him. (cf. Gen.4:7) Not only would Cain not heed the warning, but he went out and killed his brother Abel. When God asked him where his brother was, Cain had the audacity to say to God, “…Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Bible states that men knew God, but did not honor Him as God. They professed to be wise, but they became fools. God let man continue his spiral descent into the kingdom of Satan. (cf. Rom. 1:21-32) The moment Eve and Adam ate of the tree, spiritual death was birthed. (cf. Gen 2:17)
As sin progressed, Satan became the “god of this world,” (II Cor. 4:4) and began his reign of evil. Evil became acceptable, while good was defined by man’s interpretation. To counter the rising tide of rebellion, God raised up Judges and Prophets, but the people wanted Kings to rule them. There were times of spiritual renewal, but it only lasted for short periods. Prophets were killed and the way to God was blocked by the self rule of the created. Finally, God sent His own Son to show the way back to Him, but Jesus was crucified. Satan and his faithless generation thought they had achieved the ultimate victory, but it turned out to be their ultimate mistake. By Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection, not only was Satan dealt a devastating blow, but the door to God was swung wide open.
The incredible reality of all this is that Satan is still alive and well and is still recruiting for his army. Today, the Church is fragmentized and divided more than ever. So many have the Eve and Adam Syndrome, playing the role of God in making decisions of what spiritual truths are important and what are not. Many Christians are deciding how they should live their lives. Miracles, signs, wonders, prosperity, healing, gifts, prophesy, and the like are stressed, while Holiness is an archaic term. The World continues to promote homosexuality, abortion, violence, drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity, all in the guise that people, and not the Creator God, are free to determine what is good and what is evil.
Let us leave the Garden of Eden and enter the Garden of Gethsemane, there to fall on our knees and say, “Not my will, but Your will be done!”
In many Evangelical fellowships there is a yearly, if not semi-annual, gathering of people who are responding to the beckoning of their spiritual leadership to be part of a special series of meetings called Revival. Hymns and choruses fill the “sanctuaries” with petitions to God to “revive us again.” Evangelists are summoned and promotional materials are circulated throughout the community with the hope that lukewarm Believers will be rejuvenated and returned to an active role in the Kingdom of God. Why do we need reviving? There are a number of scenarios that could possibly shed some light on this phenomenon. Maybe the Church is made up of too many head conversions instead of heart transplants. Is it possible that many pew warmers have deceived themselves into thinking that works and faith do not have to be interrelated? Is it possible to be a member of a church without being a true Believer? Is it possible some have not taken their salvation seriously? Perhaps if they neglect their Bible reading, they could wander into areas in which they should not be. Perhaps they respond to life’s challenges by reason instead of faith. Perhaps they spend more time in horizontal conversations than in communication with God. Perhaps they can have the appearance of servitude without serving anyone. I guess they can learn the Jesus vocabulary without sharing it outside the Christian circle. Yes, I guess there can be situations where a revival is needed.
Speaking rhetorically, I understand no one is perfect and the world is quick to acknowledge that, but can we come to a point where we ignore the things we have been taught? Do we come to a place where God moves from being number one on our priority list to being out of our top ten? Sure, we will stumble and take an “eight count,” but to the point of being “lukewarm?” Jesus told John in Revelation that those who are “…lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew … out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16) When you limit the capacity of your eyes, ears, and mouth from seeing, hearing, and speaking the things of the Kingdom, your zeal will wane. The question is how far will a Believer go before realizing that something is wrong?
Whenever something goes wrong with our car, we take it to a mechanic. Appliances go on the blink and we call for the repairman. If we feel sick, we go to the doctor. Why is it when we feel our spiritual temperature is dropping, we don’t call for our spiritual brothers, sisters and Pastor to assist us with our struggle for spiritual stability? Could it be that some Christians don’t take their testings and trials seriously? Could it be that they think they can work it out themselves?
Take your spiritual “vitals” everyday. Have you spent time in prayer? How much time did you spend in the Word? How much time did you give to praise and worship? Who did you encourage? What did you do for the Lord today? If you are slipping away into a more conducive environment for fleshly realities, fall on your knees and let Jesus lift you up. If your pulse is slow, get active for God. Perhaps some do need a revival, but don’t let your spiritual life fade so much that you need to have an emotional reunion at the annual revival meeting just to get on your feet again.