Many of us seem to be stuck in a rut of some kind. We live our lives from one week to the next, day by day doing things which seem to be useful, but would God see your life that way? The letters to the Middle East churches which are found in the first chapters of the book of Revelation tell a story much different from what we see in our world today. But, if you read these letters carefully, those churches mirror our churches too. Some of the letters even remind you and me of people we’ve known as well. They were saved at a revival and baptized and for a while they were on fire for the Lord. But now their zeal has tempered and cooled. The worship may still be there but they don’t volunteer for projects in the church. They rarely come to church now. Some have become “holiday Christians” by only showing up during the holidays.
The letters to the churches in the book of Revelation reflect this “loss of the spark” and even sliding into a prideful type of worship as if God should be thankful to have us! So what does that say about the church in our time, in the 21st century? To me and to a lot of other people who have moved away from worship in the church it says that religion has taken the place of the message of Jesus the Christ. People who have been in the church for many years have lost their “first love” of Christ. Not because He has lost His love for us, because He hasn’t, but because of how much the world around us has crept into the church and with it the “outward show” has been diminished.
The church that the world sees today is very different from the church of sixty years ago. Things which would’ve caused our grandparents to blush because of the nature of the sin, are commonplace today and these behaviors are not taught in church as being sinful anymore. The original message of Jesus about believing in Him for salvation and laying aside our old way of living to follow Him daily has been watered down to something far less demanding and socially acceptable. Jesus and His disciples did not water down the good news and they didn’t change the message so that others were not offended.
The message which Jesus taught did stir up controversy, and He made it a point to tell the priests exactly what they were doing wrong. He also pointed out to them that He was the Messiah which Isaiah has prophesied about over seven hundred years before. The Holy Spirit even revealed to David, when he was writing the Psalms, the way by which the Messiah would be crucified in details which you can readily see. At the time that David wrote Psalm 22, crucifixion had not been used as a form of punishment for crimes deserving death.
Your life, as a follower of Jesus, is given to God through the grace of God and by the power of God because of the sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins. If He had not been obedient to the point of death, we would have no hope of eternity in Heaven. It is because of Jesus’ obedience through the arrest, conviction, scourging and His death on the cross and His burial in the tomb and His resurrection three days later that we have the Hope of seeing Him one day in our resurrected bodies! Was He afraid of the agony that He was about to go through? Yes, He was! The human part of Jesus knew the torture that He would have to endure along with the pain and suffering. His nature of being God in human form knew that it was necessary so that many would come to know Him as Savior and Lord.
We wrestle with our own natures every day after we give our lives to Christ and repent of our old ways. This is what makes the life of a Christian so difficult. Your life and mine are at odds with our “old nature” and Satan slings darts of temptation at us constantly, because he knows which sins you enjoyed so much. Walk with Jesus, read the Bible and pray for the Wisdom of God through the word that you read every day, even if it is only a verse or two. Ask Him for strength and wisdom so that you can withstand the temptations of the world around you.