DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
Awareness is a very important part of our Christian walk. We have no problem being aware of ourselves because much of the time that IS the only person we are considering. We might be able to stretch out a little and be aware of others if it includes us being curious or if it might help us somehow. But it cannot be said enough that what we all need to be aware of – all through our day and night; is the presence of Jesus Christ. Our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit will make the difference between how effective we are in our personal spiritual “success” when it comes to being used in moment by moment divine appointments. And what does all of this have to do with worship? Keep reading. Of course the first thing people will think of is the responsibility of the senior pastor to teach the word of God for that particular hour. Or for the worship pastor to be “led” by God to minister the carefully selected songs or someone who might give a tongue or correct interpretation. But the general congregation may not understand how THEIR responsibility is equally crucial as a working member that is jointly fitted and called to minister life to each other.
Allow me to begin with saying that most of us to not have a clue to how we are being watched constantly. The more we progress in our Christian development the more we are held to a higher standard. Our words are a very simple but powerful act we do that reveals so much about us. Let’s just focus on our time in church with one another and look at something very common yet extremely important. It is just as devastating to say the wrong thing – than to not say the right thing. For example; if we have an opportunity to give encouragement to someone and just shrug it off, then that person can go out the door without the much needed word of hope and strength they may have desperately needed. Maybe they were going through a marital crisis or had been to the doctor and are waiting for test results. God could have arranged a divine appointment for us and we denied the manifestation of the blessing. Could we be sitting next to someone that has been considering suicide because they cannot deal with the pain and disappointment of their life? Could this service be their last hour of hope?
Here’s another example. What if a woman was not sensitive to the clothes she wore to church and was willing to reveal more than her good personality? This may sound silly to some but it is a perfect illustration of the importance of awareness. It is common knowledge that men are sexually stimulated with what they see, where women tend to lean toward the emotional realm. And the world is filled with the “merry-go-round” of women being used to tempt men with every imagination. But the church is a place that should be off limits to this type of scenario. If a man comes to church and is trying to find God and the hope of being born again and then becomes distracted by a woman that is exposing too much flesh, it could ruin his intended spiritual experience with God that day and actually lure him into deeper lust. What if since he allowed those thoughts to possess him during that church service, he walked away because his flesh won the battle and he died that afternoon? What if us being critical to someone or rude caused them to turn away from the church and be defeated because they became offended? What if God told us to give someone some money and we chose not to because we thought it did not matter and they went to bed hungry that night? What if we spend more time watching television that we do thinking about how we can help be a blessing to others? What if the church grew cold because we failed to fast and pray for revival? James 4:17 say’s, “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Isn’t that the sin of omission? How many souls are depending on people like us to be obedient to God? Who will care enough to consider what is at stake?
I want to tell a true story that just happened a few weeks ago. A friend of mine pastors a small church in a nearby town and is blessed to have a lady that is faithful in attendance. Her husband would come every now and then but seemed to keep his distance. My friend had visited the man and he confessed that he had drifted far away from God in his life but had become hard and calloused over the years. He was now 74 years old and was just floating along in his own world. On this particular Sunday, he and his wife came in together like they had done several times before and nothing seemed unusual. The congregation was nice to them and I’m sure some had been praying for the man. The worship team selected the songs and ministered them and then my friend preached the message. He gave an alter call and all of the sudden the man raced down the aisle and fell on his knees and began to cry out. People were amazed but very happy and relieved to see someone like this break before God. They all prayed with him and spent some time with him after the service. My friend said he seemed to glow and there was a sparkle in his eyes. The very next day he had a severe stroke while driving to a café for breakfast and wrecked his vehicle. His brain was so damaged by the stroke it could not support his organ function and as they removed the life support he quietly passed away.
Many different thoughts come to mind when I think of this story. Was it something that someone may have said? Maybe someone told him they had been praying for him and with tears in their eyes maybe he felt the convicting power of agape love. Maybe it was the prayers that someone had taken into their closet and had been interceding and standing in the gap that brought a stirring to his heart? Was it a certain song that the Holy Ghost used to pierce his soul or was it the life changing power of God’s word that exposed his desperate need for a Lord and Savior? Whatever it was, “someone was used” and we all can agree there is no greater miracle. God so longs to use us as His instruments because He has so much He would love to do. He sees the future and knows each minute what is going to happen which makes how we “walk” in His spirit have so many possibilities. Imagine how much more God could do if we were “tuned on” 24 hours a day and “tuned in” to His frequency instead of all the other things we watch and listen to.
Like Jesus, we all need to walk and think about the Fathers business, always discerning, always sensitive to the needs of others. Some may say that God will accomplish everything He wants to do whether I participate or not, but that may not be the case. If we do not “believe” God enough to become sensitive to His voice then how can we be used? If we do not “believe” God enough to be a “doer” of His word how will it get done? In Mathew chapter 13 we have a disturbing true story of how much work God wants to do and how the lack of faith and obedience can prevent change. Jesus came into his hometown trying to teach, but the people allowed their familiarity with him to offend them. Verse 58 say’s, “And he (Jesus) did NOT many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” We all are making a difference in many peoples lives everyday but the question is; are we having a positive or negative effect? Are we being aware of our accountability in what is at stake?