Passion for the things of God and passion for the love of His Son. What’s missing is passion to allow the Holy Spirit to live in us and through us. A walk through the things of this world will find us empty at the end of our journey. How do believers live, work and socialize in the world without acknowledging the Spirit of God, without allowing the Holy Spirit to engage those placed in our path? Surely, the Lord puts people in our path to stir something in us.
As I drive through one of the poorest neighborhoods in my city, I can’t help but notice all the brokenness. Old bodies, young bodies, lamed bodies, struggling bodies, bodies living in extreme poverty, sullen looks, sunken faces…then I notice the children…still full of live, giddy. They have not met hopelessness, yet. And I wonder, at what point do we accept the finality of our bad circumstances?
Matthew 18 tells us “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said,“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
How important is it for us to come to Jesus as a little child looking for his father?
Sometimes, life kicks us to the ground, stomps on us, over and over again. It tries to break our resistance. It tries desperately to force us to submit to its will, to give up hope. Yes, it wants us to forget that there is a God, an all Supreme Being, a Creator. It wants us to forget in the goodness of others. It wants us to believe that we are what we are…and we will never be anything more..and that we are powerless to do anything about it.
As adults, there are times we need help to get past difficult times. Most times, we surrender ourselves to whatever eases the pain, at any particular point. Sometimes, it’s our faith that sustains us, but depending on the severity or our situation, most times we need human intervention. It is, at this point, that most family and friends choose to ignore, avoid and take the high road, so as not to feel obligated to help with need, or deed. However, that does not prevent God from placing people (sometimes we call them angels) in our life to get us over a difficult hump. At this point, it feels as if our faith is tested beyond measure.
As we age, our child nature diminishes and our old man surfaces. Truly, most of us can’t wait to shed our child self. Let’s face it, our old man can do a lot more enjoyable things than our child self, at least that’s what we tell ourselves when we’re young. As we grow and mature we develop a passion for satisfying all our sorted fleshly desires. This passion drives us to accomplish, to achieve, to succeed, and also to self-destruct.
What happens when we become born-again? Does that passion follow us, or do we check it at the door. Do we hang it by the door and put it back on when we hit the worldly pavement? Is that same passion for the things of the world unable to transcend to the things of God?
I am always amazed at the number of church buildings (all sorts of denominations and non denominational churches, big and small) in poorer neighborhoods, one in every corner it seems and yet the people remain hard-pressed to find hope. I tend to hear the voices of desperation during election seasons. “Why vote? Nothing ever changes.” It’s like need…never relents. The focus, of course, is need. On any given day, you can find people lined up at the local bread lines, food pantries, community centers for free meals, and help with utilities. It’s a never-ending heave-ho into the abyss of socioeconomic despair.
Where there should be life, passion, zeal, healing…love…faith in the One that provides, in the One that heals broken hearts, in the One that restores your soul, there is only lack and more lack. There is something wrong with that picture. Instead of life, I see death. True, no one knows the heart of any man. No one can judge the heart of any man by his outward appearance, or his sullen look, but if only you could see the look in their eyes. I am sure someone could make the argument that some of these people are good actors, and perhaps they are, but that is not the point. The lost are still lost. The sinner is still a sinner. We should be identified by our fruit. We should recognize each other by our fruit.
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
As believers, in church, out of church, rich, or poor, at every opportune moment, we should be pleading the cause for Christ with those that cross our path. Why? Because people are dead. They are not dying. They are spiritually dead, and they believe they are part of the living. A while back, I asked God, why Rich Mullins, singer and songwriter, author of Awesome God..had to leave us so soon. And I had to think about the question I asked God. Then the light bulb went on. Rich Mullins left the earth. He shed his physical body. He died a physical death, but exchanged it for a spiritual body. He is alive. He lives with the awesome God he so often wrote about. It’s us down here, on earth, that are dead…without Christ, that is.
This last hour, there is much talk about the church, especially the apostate church. It’s here and been here for a while. I am just thinking that the neighborhood church (the nature of the church) should be having an impact in the community. Most believers know the difference between the physical church and the true church, which is the body of Christ. Oh where, oh where, is the body of Christ in this lost and perishing world? And it’s not like we can change the events that God has already set in place… but, is the body of Christ pleading… imploring with the walking dead to be reconciled to God, that they may live?
2nd Cor. 5:20 implores “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”