So, this past weekend our church put on its annual Easter production. This was the fifth year that we have performed our original play titled "It Is Finished". This was also the first year that I had the privilege of portraying the role of Jesus in the production. It was a responsibility that I did not take lightly.
As we were ramping up production and going through practices, I began making a joke with some of the people in the cast about how I didn't want to be, "Fat Jesus". I know I shared a few blogs ago about how my wife and I have been dieting and exercising but I am still no where near my goal weight and knowing that I would be shirtless for part of the Easter Production had me feeling a little self conscious. The only time I go shirtless in public is when we go swimming at the YMCA and at least then most of me is under water!
There was just something about the thought of being "exposed", so to speak, that gave me a little more drive to keep losing weight. It also made me think about my own spiritual condition. Our Heavenly Father knows everything. There is nothing about us that He does not see. When I really meditated on that it caused me to examine my heart a little closer. Was there any spiritual fat there that still needed to be dealt with? Was there anything that I still needed to lose even if I had become used to it being there?
You see, I had started getting physically healthy a while back but life hit me rather hard, lol. I started slacking and before I knew it I had gotten back into some unhealthy habits. I didn't fall completely off the health bandwagon but I did gain back some of the weight I had worked so hard to lose.
Taking on on the role of Jesus made me wonder if I had done the same thing spiritually. Had I allowed myself to slip back into some bad habits in my Christian walk? After all, God hasn't called us to a sprint but a marathon. The race we run doesn't end just because we reach a certain goal. Our race is run until the day we stand before our Lord and Savior.
I just want want to encourage everyone to take some time and examine your heart. Let Holy Spirit reveal to you those trouble spots in your heart that still need to be dealt with. I think all of us would feel a whole lot better if we dropped another 10 spiritual pounds!
As for me, I feel as though I came out of our Easter production both physically and spiritually healthier than I went in. And, the Lord willing, I will become even healthier in the weeks and months to come.
if you have any tips or insights about staying spiritually or physically healthy let us know by commenting right here on the blog. I would love to hear from you!
As I was pondering what topic to discuss in this weeks blog, there was one idea that kept coming back to me over and over again.
The writings of AW Tozer have had the second greatest impact on my life, right behind the bible itself. His uncompromising view of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ spurs me on in a way that nothing else does. Whenever I read one of his books I find myself inspired to submit more fully to God and to seek after Him with greater passion. Because of the impact he has had on my life, I have decided to share a few quotes of his that I hope will impact you the same way.
1. "We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum."
- A. W. Tozer
I love this because it keeps me focused on our real purpose. We were not created by God to walk around trying to beg people to come to God. We are here under the full authority of Jesus Christ, to proclaim to the lost that there is a way to be saved form eternal damnation! God has never been interested in compromise. He didn't send His son to earth to die for just a part of us. Jesus didn't sacrifice just His hands so that our hands could be given to God. Jesus gave up himself in total so that He could redeem us totally to God!
2. "Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest by the Most High God. Our "accepting" and "willing" are reactions rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God."
- A. W. Tozer
Time and time again God has found a way to put me in my place. To remind me that there is nothing that I have done that has been so unbelievably amazing or sacrificial that it has earned me anything from Him. I have never once put God in to debt towards me. God never has and never will owe me any favors or blessings. He alone is the starting place and source of all that I have in this life and the next.
3. “One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.”
- A.W. Tozer
This may be my all time favorite AW Tozer quote. The mental image that it gives me is such an inspiring reminder that religion is not life. Jesus is life. When God first made man, He breathed life into him. Today, we still need God to breathe on us and give us life both personally and corporately. If God does not first breathe on us then our gathering together on a Sunday morning is nothing more than a useless act.
I hope these quotes inspire you and if they have then please, go out and get an AW Tozer book!
Before I dive into this weeks blog, I would like to take just a moment to apologize. It was brought to my attention that there numerous spelling issues and errors in my last blog that I had to go back and fix. I have learned a very valuable lesson, NEVER write a blog at 12:30-1:00 in the morning! Wait and finish it when you aren't falling asleep at your keyboard! LOL
Now, let's get into this weeks topic.
[Rev 3:17 NKJV] "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked--
My prayer time lately has been filled with cries for God to take me back to my first love and to keep my fire burning for Him. Fire is something that has to be tended to or else it goes out. It takes work to maintain. Staying on fire for God isn't something that just happens with no effort or work. When we are first saved, God graciously lights us on fire and we feel passionate about Him and His glory. For many of us that is the hottest we will ever burn for God. With time, we tend to grow complacent and take for granted all that God has done for us, unless we put in the effort to tend to that spiritual fire.
Jesus warns us in the book of Revelation that He does not want us to be lukewarm. In fact He says that if He finds us to be lukewarm, He will spit us out of His mouth! When we wallow in lukewarm Christianity we make God sick!
There are 5 words that Jesus used to describe the Loadicean Church's lukewarmness. Let's look at them below:
The first word Jesus used was "wretched". The greek word also means "enduring trouble". When you are enduring trouble you are sitting still doing nothing. You are simply hoping for the storm to pass before you take action. The bible tells us to rejoice in tribulation and that trials are God's way of building up our character. If you find that you are always sitting still waiting for things to get better but you never take action, you might be a lukewarm Christian.
The primary indicator that someone is miserable, is that they are unhappy. They have no joy. Without the joy of the Lord they have no strength. Wretched Christians are weak, unhappy people that are always trying to bring people down. If you find yourself always criticizing everything your church does but you don't lift a hand to help, You might be a lukewarm Christian.
More than simply not having money, the word "poor" that Jesus used also means to be needy and powerless to accomplish something. Poor Christians are always looking for a hand out, instead of a hand up. They spend most of their time sponging off of the stronger Christians around them. And, while the Bible tells us that the strong should bear the infirmities of the weak. It does not instruct us to allow spiritual free loaders to take advantage of our hospitality. If you are always asking and never giving, you might be a lukewarm Christian.
This word doesn't just refer to physical sight but to mental sight. A person that is operating blind has no idea where they are going. They have no vision for what God wants to do in their life. God's word is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path. He might not reveal all the steps but He will certainly show you the next one you are supposed to take. If you find yourself second guessing everything you think God is saying and never actually following through with anything, you might be a lukewarm Christian.
To be spiritually naked, is to be without a covering. You are out there just doing your own thing no matter what the church you attend is trying to accomplish. I have seen this type of person up close and personal. The church is moving in one direction and this person is trying to setup their own little thing and move in a totally different direction. God does not endorse Lone Ranger Christians. While He often sends out pioneers who blaze trails for others, these people are generally operating completely out on their own. If what you are doing could potentially split a church and is not breaking new ground, you might be a lukewarm Christian.
Phillip Reed is the Associate Pastor of Faith Chapel Ministries. His passion is to reconcile the lost to their Heavenly Father.