I can’t get past the idea that something is very much going on behind the scenes in the world. I know the truth is that stuff is always happening in the spiritual realm… but I’m not always aware of it or give it mind share. It’s so easy to just live in the Matrix and believe that what we see is what we get.
But lately… it’s just been obvious; the enemy’s attacks are out of control. Two people in our church have recently been in serious car accidents; at least three people on campus are battling or recovering from cancer; several parents of people in our small group are facing major health problems; a co-worker’s in-law had a major heart condition come up out of nowhere; a friend’s cousin’s wife–who’s in her 20’s–has serious cancer; and now this morning we just learned that four Taylor University students and a staff member died in a serious van accident and several others are in the hospital.
This is a reminder that there is simply no time for games. There is no time to be wrapped up in Hollywood, primetime TV, the NBA and NHL playoffs or a favorite novel. And there is especially no time to be wrapped up in a life of religion that parades as godliness but offers the world none of God’s power (1 Timothy 3:1-5). These are the perilious times Paul was talking about and going to church, going to youth group, doing five-minute devotions and attending powerless prayer meetings where we ask God to “be with so and so” aren’t going to cut it. They were never meant to cut it. The cookie-cutter, get-the-masses-saved-but-don’t-disciple-them Christianity exported by mainstream American churches may be doing more harm than good.
Do we know what it means to seek first the kingdom? It means to seek first the kingdom. It means that His kingdom work is to be at the front of our minds and our priority at all times. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Do we act like it? Do our lives reflect this?
Are we believers or Christians? Believers became known as Christians because they did what Christ did. They were Christ-like. They didn’t claim the label; they were given it because it was obvious who they represented. We are defaming the name of Jesus when we say we are Christians but then don’t do what he did.
When someone is sick and we don’t offer to lay hands on them and pray for their healing, we are being hypocrites, because Christ was moved with compassion for the masses and healed them all (Matt. 4:24, Matt. 12:15, Luke 4:40, Luke 6:19). When we think we can get through a day, let alone a week, without spending significant time with the Father, we are being hypocrites because Christ habitually went off by himself and prayed (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23, Luke 22:39). When we think we can minister in the name and power of Jesus without being filled with the Holy Spirit, we are being presumptuous because Christ and the believers needed to be filled with the Spirit before they did (Matt. 3:16, Acts 1:4-5).
There is no time. People are dying. They need Life. They need God. But they aren’t going to get Him from saved-and-going-to-heaven believers operating in the power of themselves. They are going to get it from actual Christ-like Christians (see book of Acts for examples), who walk in the authority and power of Christ, which was granted to us so we could complete the work He started, as His body.