Church was, to put it bluntly, convicting this morning. It took everything to get myself out of my warm bed and get ready to go. I barely made it to the late service. This long weekend of moving, holiday, and reorganizing has taken an exhausting toll on me. The last three weeks, yet I am sad to say I missed last week since I was in Indy, my church has been doing a series on the Holy Spirit. This week it came to a convicting and thought provoking peak.
Before I go further I want to draw your attention to 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV) –
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Take a very close look at verse 5: having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. This struck me in several different ways. So often in today’s world, even among Christians, I hear that several gifts of the Spirit are not applicable to our day and age. That is such a sad and treacherous lie from the pit of hell. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit when he left earth as a helpmate, strength, and encouragement for our souls. It is by the Holy Spirit that we walk in faith. The healthier we keep the Spirit in us, the stronger we grow as Christians.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
As we grow in a relationship with Christ, our interaction with the Holy Spirit should be increasing. We have been blessed with powerful gifts, no matter what our spiritual maturity level is. The church of Corinth was horribly weak and immature, yet they were still commanded to use the gifts God had given each of them through his Spirit.
That is challenging. I get so wrapped up in what I am not doing right or how I am not pleasing God that I have trouble embracing the gift of grace and allow to Holy Spirit to work in my heart and life. No matter what I will always fall short of the mark God has set for me, but with the help of the Spirit and the desire and willingness to use the gifts I have been given, I can still shoot for that mark with no shame or condemnation.
Now, imagine for a moment that even a handful, or even as many as a dozen people were to take this mindset and run with it! Imagine the impact it would have if each of those dozen people reached out and touched five or ten lives each. The domino effect would then take over and we would see a revolution and revival in our world, but especially in our churches that is almost unfathomable. Things like the gifts of the Spirit that the strict, fundamentalists of the “church” have made so taboo would quickly become normal!
I look at the church Bethel in Redding, CA. They have been doing this very thing for years and have impacted thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of lives. Imagine if there was even one church in each time zone that was making the same impact Bethel is. You see, Bethel has not just touched CA, but all over the world! If we had four or five other churches in the USA alone doing that very thing, I guarantee we would see a revival in the hearts and minds of people that has never been seen before. It goes deeper though! Once that revival takes place, think about how that effects community, economy, government, and the list goes on and on.
Jesus told us that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. I want to be one of those laborers. I want to show the world the change that has taken place in my heart and life. Am I perfect and without flaws? Far from it. I am a work in progress, but I am not of this world. It blows me away that the first people to judge me are always Christians or “religious” people. It does not matter though what others may think. The church has been diluted and poisoned with “feel good Christianity”, legalism, fundamentalism, and rules for too long. I see a movement coming that is on fire and it is going to be the hope and salvation of what we call the United States, and hopefully the world.
I feel like I was given a spark to the gas heater of my soul today. Thoughts are still being sorted, but having been challenged, I look forward to the next week, and many weeks, to come where I can take the time to fellowship and build my relationship even deeper with my Abba, Strong Tower, Cornerstone, and most importantly…Best Friend.