Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lackluster Faith

One of my favorite worship songs is Open the Eyes of My Heart
by Mercy Me. The reason it is one of my favorites is that that is exactly what I want God to do. I want Him to open the eyes of my heart so I can see Him and know Him.

Do you ever feel like your walk has become lackluster and long to really know the Lord better? That is where I have been for the past few months and especially the last few weeks.

I read a couple of new books which I would highly recommend to you if you are feeling this way, too. One is "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan and the other is "Radical" by David Platt. Both of these books opened my eyes to the shallowness of my christianity and why my walk had become lackluster. What do I mean by "shallowness" and "lackluster"?

I was only looking at Christ as far as my front door and most days as far as my feet. My prayers were filled with requests for the Lord to "Help me..."

We are, by nature, selfish. Just think about any baby or small child and you'll immediately know what I mean. It's ALL about them, what they want, what they need, how they feel. We're born with that nature. We're born needy. We can only think as babies that we're hungry, or uncomfortable, or we don't feel well or we want to be held or put down, whatever; and we have the lungs and vocal ability to let one and all know about it.

I know that my faith in Christ has produced fruit in my life and in other's lives. I've seen it and have been told about it, but I have been feeling altogether too self-focused in my prayers.

Then I read these two remarkable books while on vacation and I started a Bible study (among other new ventures) and I felt that God was speaking directly to me telling me that I had enough knowledge and faith and had known Him long enough to get out do something with it.

One thing that really hit me hard for some reason unbeknownst to me was reading the Philipians 2.

I have read this chapter many times and it has been gone over in Bible study many times and I've heard many sermons preached on it, but for some reason, this was my TIME to read it and for it to sink in and touch my heart. (You know, the Word is like that sometimes.) It really hit me that God Almighty, who CREATED everything, KNOWS everything, and IS everywhere at ALL times loved everything and everyone He created so much that he didn't consider it BENEATH Him to go and take on the form of a created being, to live as a created being in the flesh and without using any of His ability as God to make a way for everything and everyone to be restored to the original, intended relationship that He created us for.

He didn't have to be born poor. He didn't have to learn a trade. He didn't have to be hungry, tired, or sick but he willingly became a man subject to all those things; not to mention being subject to aggravation, impatience, lust, all the things that the human body is subject to being simply because of being human. But He did it all willingly. And then, he allowed little ol' people, mere men and women, to mock him, spit on him, beat him to within a heart beat of his life, pull out his beard so that you could not even recognize him, and then let them hang him on a cross so he could pay the penalty that we, you and me, should have paid because of all the lousy, horrible, impure, unholy things we have thought and/or done.

I realized that Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, paid my debt to the Creator for my part in the sinfulness of the world. I should have hung on that cross, and I saw it ALL so clearly - how it should have been, and several times now since that happened, it has come back to me, and I have seen it again, and Jesus is looking real precious to me right now. I can see what a debt I owe to Him.

The authors of Radical and Forgotten God then showed me that I was not "asked" to go and make disciples of all nations, but I was "commanded" to go and do so.

Another thing the Lord showed me was in the book of 1 Samuel how Eli who was the prophet prior to Samuel had two sons who did not know the Lord and did sinful things at the Temple by taking advantage of people and sleeping with women and taking the best meat meant for sacrifice and how God held Eli responsible for his sons. You know, folks, God is going to hold us responsible for our children, too. You can find the story about Eli and his sons in 1 Samuel Chapter 2. Colossians 1:16 tells us:

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Did you see that: All things created were created by him AND FOR HIM. Our children belong to Him, and if we are not diligent in preparing them to know and receive Him, how can they be FOR Him? Won't they be AGAINST them?

One last thing that God showed me, and this one really caught me by surprise. I was driving home from my trip south yesterday, and I stopped in a convenience store to get some ice, when I heard the following conversation (all said with a "very" southern accent)...

"How ya doin Ms. Kirk, law, I haven't seen you in ages?

Well, Roy, I am doing so fine this morning. God has blessed this old body in so many ways I just can't tell you how good He is to me.

I know what ya mean Ms. Kirk. He sure is good, and He's coming back soon, I think.

Yep, I believe He's coming soon, too. I got a lot of things ain't so good, Roy, but I sure know that God has blessed me and I praise Him every day....."

What a blessing to me to hear this conversation. How many times when someone asks me how I'm doing do I say, "fine, thank you, and how are you?" From now on, I am going to glorify God. I want everyone to know how God has blessed me. He called my name, I heard Him, I answered Him, and now I am His and He is mine. I'm alive, I'm breathing. I can use all my senses. I can laugh and cry and feel. I can understand and I can explain. He loves me. He died for me and paid my debt. I owe Him my all and yet when this life is over I will inherit all the wonderful things I can think of and many that my mind cannot even conceive because of HIS generosity, faithfulness and love.

So why was my faith becoming so lackluster and shallow? Because I was focusing on me and not on HIM; because I was only caught up in my life instead of the lives of others, and because not only wasn't I looking at my life as blessed, I wasn't telling others how blessed I am! When you look at it all from the other direction and live it that way, your faith will be real shiny, and it'll show on your face!


Be blessed today in Jesus!

3 comments:

  1. Dear Kim, you've blessed my heart with this post with your witness and the "southern accented ones"! I felt the warmth of His presence, goodness, and light, that gentle sweet testimony so constant and steady is "What the World Needs Now..." the love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost:)

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  2. Seasons of lackluster faith help us to really see the glory of living for Him when we re-discover our first love:)

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  3. Hey Kim,

    I did check out that link you posted on my blog. It was very interesting:)

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