For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.1 Peter 2:25 NASB2020
Our culture, our civilization, our way of life is being judged. What is the fruit of our lives? Is it selfishness and worldliness? Or is it devotion and surrender to God?
I’ve discovered recently as I press into my relationship with God, that I’d picked up a lot of worthless religious teachings, rules and regulations, that were actually suffocating the life of Christ in me. I was trying to do things in my own strength instead of letting God live His life through me.
Learning the rules, the basic patterns and disciplines of a life in God are good, but at some point you graduate and you just live in relationship with God.
Our Western way of doing religion is endless teaching with very little doing. We’re always preparing but rarely going. We leave that to the “professionals” but their job is to prepare us to go. We’ve got a cart but no horse. Where’s the life?
Life is found in relationships. If the current pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we’ve been wasting our lives on the wrong things. What good is having stuff if there’s no one else there to enjoy it with you?
We’ve bought into the worldly lie of consumerism, materialism and competition. All of these things separate us from the people around us. Are we chasing things to give our lives value? Or are we investing in relationships to increase others’ joy and well-being?
The Church is going to come roaring back to life. It will be an unmistakable move of God simultaneously all around the world. There will be no missing it. Just watch.
What’s happening right now is religion is being exposed as lifeless. Tired traditions handed down from years gone by have not kept pace with the evolution of our world. People with no attention span aren’t going to sit still quietly when there’s endlessly more stimulating options available anytime anywhere.
It doesn’t look promising for traditional spectator churches. However, the Church is growing organically at a faster rate than ever before. The key is just to live out your faith unashamedly everyday all-day. Look for the opportunities as they present themselves.
People need relationship. They crave heart level communication. Unfortunately, many churches have become houses of the great pretenders. We pretend everything is all right, afraid to be real, and nobody knows the real us. It’s a shameful pity that should not be.
Church should be the one place where it’s safe to be the real you where you can address any issues you have with a family that loves and prays for you.
That’s what discipleship is all about. Knowing God and being known in His Church.
Of all the things disciples should be recognized by, it’s their love for one another. Love is the movement. Return to your first love. Put God first in all things. The breakthrough is coming. Rest. Pray. Trust God. Love your neighbors. Be kind. Be generous. Share the reason for all the good that you do, Christ in you.
Be blessed this Christmas season with a renewed hope, faith and love of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel. God’s done the heavy lifting of shaking the nations and bringing them to their knees. People are ready for hope. People are dying for truth. People are desperate for love.
We, the Church of God, are the answer and the antithesis of the world. Repent, the Kingdom is at hand! Turn from following the ways of the world and follow Jesus.
Lord, forgive us for going astray. Lead us back home to fellowship with You and all Your Children. In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen.