This week the 4th of July was celebrated — a day to remember the founding of the United States of America. Many have been saying that we, as a nation, are less than united, in these days. Shootings — like the one in the Chicago area on the 4th, and many others large and small — seem to happen almost every day. There seems to be great dysfunction in our federal government and in politics in general. Decisions are quietly being made through regulatory means that are fundamentally changing the way American society has been accustomed to for many years. We see shortages of various things on the shelves of supermarkets and other stores. We see the price of gas and diesel twice what it was less than eighteen months ago. Challenges are everywhere including in the church and home. Into this milieu, the Lord has allowed — dare I say, called — us to live and serve Him. Interestingly, I don’t see too many leaders in the Bible who had it very easy. If this is so, why would we be so shocked when challenge, heartache, betrayal and hostility come our way? Perhaps we have bought into Satan’s lie that peace and tranquility are the marker of good spirituality and disharmony and tension are the markers of bad spirituality. It seems that a more careful reading of Scripture would help us see that God’s design is for His people to be in a state of peace and tranquility irrespective of whatever situation we find ourselves in. THAT is not an easy thing. THAT is not something we can just work ourselves into. THAT is only accomplished by the on-going, sanctifying, presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Our founder, A.B. Simpson, used to call this the “Deeper Life” or the “Higher Calling.”
What a paradox, for us to know and experience true peace and tranquility — regardless of the situation we find ourselves in or before us — we must be willing to set aside the natural desire for self and sin and welcome the work of the Holy Spirit in us! To the natural mind, that makes little sense. To the heart set on Christ, that makes perfect sense. As we have just celebrated “Independence Day” how much more must we declare that we must live “in dependence” on the Lord! If we fail to do this we will exasperate ourselves trying to improve, striving harder to some supposed spiritual standard that we can never meet. Often times we get tired, frustrated and defeated because we act like we can reach deeper depths and higher heights by trying harder, but inwardly we know — we know — we need a fresh work of the Spirit to be done in us. Perhaps you know people, I certainly do, who claim to have shed their formerly Christian ways to find freedom – independence even! YET, if you look at the whole of their life at such a time as they say these things — they are more bound and imprisoned than before. Often times, they are even more miserable than before because, indeed, they have tasted and seen that the Lord is good — but their life, right now, is not. So, they blame God, rather than take a real good look in the mirror, so to speak.
Friend, this falling away — this exchanging of life in Christ for life in the flesh — does not usually happen in one fell swoop. It generally happens over time. Satan will take his time to bring about his ends. He loves to chip away at the Christ-follower and over time break one’s resolve, spirit and mind. Then, when he does, he flips to the other side and beats you with the sin and the surrendering to His evil ways. What is our remedy? How can we escape this? Friend, let us press on to the “Higher Calling” or go further in the “Deeper Life.”
We’re going to explore this in the upcoming RMD monthly columns. For now, take stock of where you are. Maybe you are in a good place of growth and flourishing! Praise the Lord and may it continue! Perhaps you find yourself stagnate and in maintenance mode. Maybe you find yourself near despair. Whatever the case, remember that it is never too late to turn around and go back to the Lord — go back to the things we did at first — seeking Him, calling out to Him, asking Him to renew us and refresh us in Him!
I recognize we all have much to do — my schedule is crazy in the months ahead. B U T, if you need someone to listen, someone to chat with, someone to pray for you, your family, your ministry, please feel free to call me. I may be on the road or in meetings but I will call you back as soon as possible and rejoice with you or listen and seek to encourage you in Christ! Let’s together, again declare we are in dependence on Him!
Serving Christ Together With You,