Hey All! I wanted to jot down some thoughts as I prepare the outline for this week’s Sunday service. To set the stage, I have to say that I have been enjoying our study in Revelation. There is so much in this book to process. Sometimes I feel like I am drinking from a fire hose! However, as I process what we are learning and try to relate it to our worship, I am often left feeling overwhelmed and very inadequate. In short, at times I have a growing realization that my life does not reflect the gravitas that the ramifications of our salvation demands.
My first inclination is to try to figure out what I can do to avoid being lukewarm like the church at Laodicea. Uh oh, I said the “D” word: DO. I remember an illustration taught awhile back that clearly defines the difference between Christianity and all of the other religions in the world:
All of the religions of the world (besides Christianity) are spelled “DO”, they are all about what we do to get to God [or please Him]. Christianity is spelled “DONE” because it is all about what Christ has already done for us.
When our motivation to act (work) is based on “doing because I have to”, instead of “doing because I want to”, we’re in a very dangerous place. Don’t get me wrong, works are important. James says, “You excuse your lack of works by saying that faith is all that is needed, but true faith is proven by works” (James 2:14-25 paraphrased). He even goes on to say that “faith without works is dead” (this reminds me of the warning given to the church of Sardis). Remember, the Greek word for faith “pistis” means; to be firmly persuaded or convinced. So genuine faith “being convinced about God’s promises and revelation” produces genuine works “doing because I want to”. In other words, “our works” indicate how convinced we are about the truth we say we believe, it becomes a very good gauge that measures the quality of our faith. All that being said, faith and works reveal the condition of our relationship with God.
An example: As a husband, there are several good indicators that can reveal the health of my relationship with my wife. Questions like:
- Do I seek or even care about my wife’s opinion when making various decisions (both big and small)?
- How well do I know my wife’s belief concerning any given matter?
- How often do I ponder, ruminate or think about my wife?
- How often do I set aside quality time to listen to her?
- Do I love talking to others about my wonderful wife or am I embarrassed to talk about her?
These questions don’t just apply to husbands but can be used on any relationship whether that be a spouse, child, parent, or friend. So what signs mark a serious Christian? What characterizes a person living by faith? Let’s apply the list above to our relationship with God:
- Do I seek and care about God’s opinion on various decisions (both big and small)?
- How well do I know God’s thoughts concerning any given matter?
- How often do I ponder, ruminate, meditate, and think about God?
- How often do I set aside quality time to listen to God?
- Do I love talking to others about my wonderful God and what He has done for me or am I embarrassed to talk about Him?
I am sure there are more questions to add to that list, but you get the idea. To be honest, when I ask myself these questions, some answers leave me encouraged, and others make me downright ashamed. I encourage you to take the list above, and personalize each question to determine how you are doing: Where are your strengths? Where are you weaknesses? Where can you improve?
My challenge: Share your answers. Personally, I was encouraged on questions (1, 2, and 5) and downright ashamed of (3, 4). If you are anything like me, you value accountability and encouragement. When we share with each other, these things become a reality. So as we come together this week both to worship and to hear God’s word for His church, take time to reflect on your relationship with God.
One final thing, don’t view this exercise as another “to-do list” or to try and “prove” that you are a Serious Christian. Instead, focus your energy on cultivating and deepening your relationship with God. Then this examination can serve as an opportunity to begin seriously listening to God’s voice and to begin caring for the things that are on His heart.
As you ponder, take a few minutes to check out this new song that we will be introducing this week. It’s a song about sacrifice and true worship to Christ and is a great response to everything that we have been studying. I look forward to worshipping with you all tomorrow!