Whenever I think about being alert, I always think back to that first cup of coffee that I drink each morning. After drinking a cup of coffee, our physical bodies are awakened, and we are more alert, and if we drink a few espressos, maybe even more so.
Unfortunately, the church in America today, needs a few espressos. We probably need intravenous infusions of something that will bring about a spiritual awakening. The scariest part is that I am convinced that most well-meaning, God loving Christians are not aware of their own slumbering state.
In my last blog, I wrote about entering the rest of God. I am concerned though, that because of our general understanding of the word ‘rest,’ we, as Christians, might misunderstand the implications of learning to ‘rest in God.’
It does not mean to lie around in slumber, or to be lazy, or to take our own ease.
Isaiah 40 31 tells us that “those wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
This is a picture of the rest of God that we must enter into. This type of rest includes seeking the Lord daily, in order to obtain His peace, strength and guidance. When we take the time to wait for God’s Presence, we actually exchange our strength for His. He pours His might and power into us. He also gives us peace. In this place, The Lord can also speak instructions to our spirit. From this place of rest, we can go forth in order to take action in our communities.
So, resting in Christ is an impetus to action.
Daniel says that ‘those who know their God will be strong and will take action. One translation says that they will do exploits.’ Daniel 11:32
If ever in the history of the United States, there was a need for strong and obedient Christians, who are doing exploits, it is now. As a student of American history, I cannot think of a time, after its founding, in which there was such a dire need of a man or a woman to stand in the gap. We can stand in the gap in prayer, as the prophet Joel said, ‘weeping between the porch (where the people are) and the altar of God, saying “spare us oh God, for why should we be a byword among the nations.”
We can also stand in the gap with our physical beings- being present where there is an intersection of good and evil. We can use our voices to exalt righteousness, by sending letters to newspapers, by signing petitions, by speaking up. We can go to the places where contemporary issues are being decided, gathering at our city council meetings and at the capitols, where our state legislators meet. We can gather; we can protest.
We can become more active in evangelizing our neighbors. We can become more active in feeding and sheltering the poor.
How sad it is that the church is called the ‘silent majority’ in America. We have muzzled ourselves under the bondages of complacency and the fear of man.
Church people don’t want to appear unloving; I think it is our greatest fear. And while our demeanor and our words must always be filled with grace, we cannot cower any longer in the shadows.
Secondly, we must have discernment. I fear that the American church is under a deluding influence. We have gone off, half-cocked, as it were, forgetting that ‘the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.’
In short, we are a church, asleep.
Over and over in the Word of God, we are exhorted to be alert.
I Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
Colossians 4:2 says “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
Ephesians 6:18 ‘And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’
Jesus Himself exhorted us to be ready and to remain alert.
Luke 12:35-37 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.”
In order for us to wake up, we cannot be about our business as usual. We really must give much more effort into seeking, not religion, but to seeking the Lord Himself. Out of the overflow, we can understand His will for us and take action and function from a place of rest.