Goin’ Through the Motions

A few years ago I wrote about the revival which preceded the American Revolution. Including a little background, I wrote,

In the late 1600s when the British Monarchy established the Church of England, the King also established himself as the head of the Church other religions, such as Catholicism, Judaism, and Puritanism, were suppressed. 

Basically everyone was forced to practice the same religion, and it created complacency and a spiritual desert among believers. Religion became something done out of habit or obligations. People went through the motions of forced worship, but without deeply felt convictions of the heart and soul. After numerous decades of this kind of complacency in both England and the American colonies the spiritual “revival” of the Great Awakening happened....”

Notice how the condition of the Church of England was a spiritual desert? People’s practice became habitual. Expected. Obligatory. Dry….

Jesus talked about such a condition when He addresses the seven churches in Revelation, especially the Laodician church, which He described as “lukewarm“.

While these messages applied to experiences of specific churches, they are also prophetic of the experiences of the Church through the centuries and contain admonishments that are applicable to God’s people in every age.

Our regular readers and folks here know that when I mention “the church”, unless otherwise stated, I mean the body of Christ and no one particular denomination.  Reading and thinking about the condition of the church in our time, could include the spiritually dry yet lukewarm conditions mentioned in the Bible.  As it goes with politics, where the people are corrupt, so will our politicians- and as the church is a desert, the people are spiritually dry.

I know most folks here are passionate about the Lord, and are excited about how He works in our lives and world- and I know those who have a good church home enjoy the fellowship at their churches as well as here at the Heart Beat.  As do I.  But in the larger context of things, as a body, are American Christians going through the motions of “playing church” or are they developing a real relationship with their Creator and Savior?

I love the messages at church, I love writing about Biblical views and things going on with a Biblical perspective. I love Christian music, I love reading the Bible.  But sometimes I feel like I am doing some of these things out of obligation as a Christian, and not really waiting on the Lord- to sit at His feet and just hang out with Him.

I love learning, I love what He teaches, and I love Him- but do I show Him enough by my actions, or by my obedience?  Sometimes I think I come up shorter than I ought to at this point in the walk.

There’s a song by Newsboys that I really like, and the lyrics of two parts of the song have pricked me every time I listen to it- because I see it not only in the church, but sometimes in my own walk as well…

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing…

As I mentioned, I love Christian music, and that includes the hymns and old time Gospel, yet singing is not our faith.  It is supposed to be worship, but often times we sing for the pure enjoyment of the words- which are nice, comfortable and encouraging. But our faith has to be more than that.

The other part of the song,

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised!
In the here and now, let love invade!
Let the church live loud, our God we’ll say
We believe, we believe!
And the gates of hell will not prevail!
For the power of God, has torn the veil!
Now we know Your love will never fail!
We believe…

Lookit that! Those are strong words, honest words and even fighting words. They remind us that the church is here for a reason- to be loud, live our faith out loud, not just in the pews.  That we have Christ’s power and even hell can’t stop us.  Do we believe it? Really?

We need to build our relationship with our First Love.  Hang out with Him, devote time to Him, personally as well as during church and family/bible reading time.

Quiet time is a hard thing for me, my brain won’t quit talking, and there is always something going on around that tends to be distracting. It’s something I have to constantly work on to even begin to have a quiet time ‘being still’.

We are supposed to be salt and light, preserving, healing and seasoning a fallen, spiritually sick and tasteless world.  Sharing the light of Christ and helping others find their way to Him by our walk as well as our talk.  We need to live louder, more boldly. We need to live like we believe.

We can’t  just be buoyed up on Sundays and Wednesdays with Bible teaching and singing.  Yes, those are good things, but we need to make Him our focus. When we remember that what we do, in all circumstances- whether in corporate or personal worship, quiet time, devotional, or work is for Him, we can truly make our communities our mission field.

And then just maybe, we will see the revival that so many of us have been praying for.