A wakeup call for Christians
Cindy and I just returned from a prayer walk with our dog Beau. As Cindy was praying for many things I softly whispered to God, Lord, please give me a greater sense of urgency for these troubled times we are experiencing. I no sooner got that request set before Him that He responded pretty bluntly. Vince, there is no sense of urgency in My kingdom. I do not want you to have a greater sense of urgency just a deeper understanding of your responsibility.
Wow. This is the second time He has shared with me my need to take the responsibility He has given me more seriously. I admit I am a little slow but I am starting to get it. God is not anxious about the condition of the culture we have created so much as He is seeking to get the attention of many of His followers who have allowed it to happen.
My tendency to lean toward a sense of urgency is motivated by a combination of hearing it from the mouths of other Christian leaders and taking in the sights and sounds being projected by all of the contemporary forms of media, most of which is purposely manipulated. I think the Lord is telling me to keep my eye on the ball and avoid getting deceived. The enemy is hard at work and he is the great deceiver—even of the elect.
As I continued through this morning contemplating all of this my mind flashed back to an experience I had when I was 16. I wrote about this some time ago and it had to do with a meeting I attended of a secret society where I was being initiated. There were about 30-40 of us young new recruits who were asked to go into a room and wait until the program started. What happened in that room was something so deeply etched in my mind that I will never forget it.
The AC was off and it must have been close to 100 degrees. We were in there for an hour at least and several of us near the door were getting angry and yelling at those on the other side who had us locked in. It escalated to the point where once the door opened a violent fight broke out with our captors. There was a stabbing and you could see blood everywhere. Finally it ended, we were all scared and the ambulance carted away the wounded.
Once back in the main auditorium we were now audience members waiting for the leader to speak. There was a heightened sense of fear and anxiety. What I did not notice at the time were about 50 men in black robes standing around the perimeter of the room, my dad one of them, seemingly very calm. When you are anxious the obvious is not considered. Of course we went on to learn that was the purpose of the whole put-on event. It was all a show.
After introducing the well-planted actors they went on to teach us that this was a lesson about how communism works. It only takes a few to mislead the unaware masses.
My friend, this is what is happening in our world today. I am sorry to say that many of us Christians are falling for the trap. We have our eyes on what is being fed to us through our “enlightened” culture filled with an unprecedented ability to communicate. The so-called enlightened culture we have today has produced the darkest world we have ever seen by deliberately choking off the only true light.
The battle lines have never been so clear, resulting in an atmosphere of heightened tensions. In order to hold to their warped worldview, people find they must deny God. Consequently, their actions begin to produce an elevation of anger and violence. Logically, of course, this makes no sense—if there is no God then why should you be angry with someone who believes there is?
If there is no God then why should you be angry with someone who believes there is?
I am persuaded that human beings hold deep within a sense of what is right and wrong. Deep inside their heart there is a sense that something is not right. Maybe it is the awareness of that hole that only God can fill. As a result, the more we try to persuade others of our rightness the more conflicted we become and the obvious outworking of this takes the form of anger, often violent anger. In my early sin-filled life I experienced a lot of this as everything I did seemed to go against the grain of what God intended for me.
So here is our dilemma—how do I as a Christian respond to this? A sense of urgency often ushers in misguided and shallow attempts to make a difference. A deeper understanding of my responsibility, on the other hand, should bring about a more thoughtful and effective approach.
My friend yes, the times are dark and likely to get much darker. It has been predicted after all. As Christians we cannot afford to set aside our responsibility, however. God is calling us to awaken a dead world to the life and love of Jesus—and yes—even if we face persecution for doing so.
I want to address three groups of people with some ideas to consider in light of all that I am saying here:
For Pastors and church leadership:
- Recognize the extent to which your church and Christian message may be producing cap pistols when the world needs aircraft carriers
- Stop preaching a watered down version of God's Word
- Consider that the number of people who attend your church is NOT an indicator of how BIG (spiritually mature) your church is
- Quit worrying about who is leaving your church—it is none of your business—your business is to make sure you and Jesus are on the same page. The rest is His problem not yours—anything less than this is pride
- Stand firm against the threats of our secular and anti God culture—BE COURAGEOUS!
(On a personal note, I must admit that I have been guilty of violating much of this—it continues to be a temptation)
Amos 5:23-24 Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.
For the Christian:
- Stop looking for churches that make you feel good
- Make it a priority to place yourself in environments where your spiritual growth is the number one priority
- Quit arguing with the world—go deeper with God and He will use you at the proper time
- Stop watching and listening to most forms of social media and news—the majority of it is designed to mislead you
- Determine to do whatever it takes to get closer to God—get up earlier and get into that devotional routine you have been putting off
- Consider starting a small group in your home devoted to growing disciples
Rom. 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is --his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For the non Christian:
- Please do not close your heart
- Try to keep an open mind about the existence of a great and mighty God who is crazy about you
- If you are angry consider where it may be coming from
- Before you accept anyone’s idea of truth be courageous enough to research and test its validity
- Quit exposing yourself to information and books that already support your ideas and start looking at the other side—there is nothing more frustrating than talking to someone who has never exposed themselves to opposing views
- Walk away from people who are overly critical and judgmental
- Find a church that only teaches the unadulterated truth of the Bible and where you sense that you are loved no matter what
Eph. 1:18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…