We spend so much time trying to correct the behavior of a sinner instead of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with them.
We spend so much time up in arms about Red Cups, protesting at Christian Rap Concerts, arguing about Politics.
It not just the things we as Christians let bother us, but its also the good things too. We attend churches with a smorgasbord of ministries designed to enhance every bit of you. You can learn cooking, you can get thin, you can come to learn about marriage, you can do all of this.
But somehow after decades of auxiliary boards and fellowship halls most of us continue to walk around without grasping the gravity of what having a relationship with the Almighty God really is. Just imagine the Lord, Alpha and Omega who created time and lives outside of time, who spoke our world into existence out of nothing, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the God who sacrificed for us so that He could build a bridge to us through Jesus Christ. The God who knit us together in our womb, the God who hold all things together down to every joint. This is the God who has invited us into a personal relationship with Him. This is the God who dwells within us.
Not only do we not appreciate who God is to us, but the fact that we are intrinsically tied to His Power through the Holy Spirit. We have access to be heard among the inner court, in the Holy of Holys and the Scripture tells us that He delights in us. That He is a good father who knows how to give God gifts, that He is our refuge and our shield, that He goes before us in the presence of our enemies and prepares us a table before them! Scripture says that the cedars of Lebanon shake in His presence, that mountains are laid flat before him. This is our God, our Father.
We often forget to bask in His presence, we forget that we have power in the name of Jesus and we forget that we are commissioned by Him! This should be even more astounding to the people of God to know that this same Almighty God chosen to work in and through us. Scripture says that He has prepared in advance good works for us to do. We are called ambassadors of Christ. We are commissioned to make disciples to love deeply, to live holy, to care for the orphan and the widow.
I fear that we have a lack of understanding of Who God is, Who we are in Him and What we are really called to do. If this world is temporary if life is but a breath, like grass that is here today and gone tomorrow then we must consider there is something more to our Walk.
Is it possible we have been up in arms for the wrong reasons. Is it possible that we have been accustomed to treating the church as our filling station rather a place of sacrifice where we go to glorify God because He is worthy? Have we been too busy trying to meet our need that we have forgotten to address what God has commissioned us to do?
Don’t get me wrong, I know that God’s house is to be a house of prayer. That God delights in healing us, mind, body and soul. I know that health ministries and marriage ministries and small groups are important but my question is, have we given this too much weight while not focusing on the fact that the Holy Spirit came upon the believers who waited in Jerusalem like cloven tongues of fire. These tongues of fire didn’t simply initiate a good ol’ head banging foot stomping worship experience, rather it was the the fulfillment of God’s promise to give us another helper, a counselor who is the Holy Spirit. What can God help with, if we are not actively engaging in spreading the Gospel, what can we be counseled on if we are not operating with a vision to be the hands and feet of Christ in the Earth?
I recently attended the Right Now conference where I heard Francis Chan preach on this very subject. It was his desperate plea to us and to himself, that we may open our eyes and know that what we have been concerning ourselves with, just may not capture the gravity of Who he is, Who we are in Him and What we are supposed to do.
Read along with me Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 as he cries out to the church.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth Derives it Name. That he would grant you, according to the riches of His Glory to be strengthened with Power through His spirit in the inner man. So that Christ may Dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ wrasses knowledge, That you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or Think, According to the power that words within us, To Him Be the Glory in the church and in Christ Jesus To All Generations forever and ever. Amen!”
I challenge you to pray this prayer alongside of me this week! To pray that we will know! That we will comprehend! That the God from whom every family in Heaven and on Earth Derives its name, can and will strengthen your inner man! That at the very core you can find Power through the connection God has provided us through Christ Jesus. This strengthening of with power in the inner man is not for not… The Scriptures says that we pray for this “so that” Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith! It doesn’t stop there but this should catalyze us to Know and understand the deep deep deepness of God’s care for us through the love of Christ. Here Paul is praying that the church of Ephesus, and by extension you and I, may know something which is beyond knowledge, that is the Love of Christ.
All of Paul’s prayer produces this product, ” that we may be filled up to all the fullness of God!” All the fullness of God!
Will you pray this prayer with me this week? Have we just given up on being filled up with all the fullness of God? Has the conservative evangelical church written this off as spiritual hookie pookie? Has the Pentecostal church just settled for a fullness that makes you dance and wiggle mostly at church? Or are we as a people willing to press pass this and see what God really has in store; not just for us, but through us.