Writing a Thesis is tedious… but life is good and I am actually excited about seeing this PhD at an end. It’s been hard work, a LOT of work and it has taken almost 4 years to complete, so I hope that whoever get the hard task of examining me will be able to appreciate that and finally LET ME GO.
In the mean time, I am so thankful to the Lord for all His blessings, or at least those blessings that I am aware of. Having come to a new congregation for the past three months, it is wonderful to associate with people who genuinely seek God’s face and want to live in His plans and will. It makes such a difference when you are surrounded by souls that are eager to know more about God, to live in the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19). It is so often the case that, for a myriad of reasons, we get bogged down into the things and concerns our own little lives and become incapable to lift our heads from the mire of “everyday life” to look above – let alone to set our affections there (Col. 3:2).
And yet, if only we could only realise, as God’s redeemed people, our tremendous calling to live our lives here for Him who died for us rather than for our old selves (2 Cor. 5:15), then the impact we would have on the world as a Church would be indescribable. Because spiritual health begins with a right relationship to God (John 14:6), but is maintained by continuous fellowship with God – by coming into His presence (2 Cor. 3:18) and doing what we were created to do: Develop and enjoy a relationship with our Father in heaven. That is the heart of the Christian life, the means by which, in our earthen vessels we can come to know the treasure that is in us (2 Cor. 4:7) and grow into that “perfect man” (and woman!) that Paul wrote about (Eph. 4:13).
Unfortunately, as the Church, we miss that central point so much. And the result? We have lowered the standards, even though we have everything we need to grow and live as God wants us too (2 Pet. 1:3). Do you see the inconsistency? We repent, come to Christ for salvation, but we balk at submission. We want grace, but not obedience. We seek His mercy, but not His lordship. And the loss is tragic: Instead of spiritual blessing, we have spiritual misery; instead of divine power, earthly weakness; instead of growth, regression; instead of soldiers, wounded; instead of climbing up the mountain, we’re always trying to crawl out of the pit.
How does the Word of God put it? For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. – Gal. 6:8
The word for “corruption” (“φθορά”) has several meanings (ruin, destruction), but the most illustrative one is perhaps that of “decay”: a slow, creeping process that saps the life out of our spiritual faculties. It’s not so much a sudden, blatant sin that is in mind here, but more a continual process of “sowing” in the flesh – that constant investment and cultivation of habits and ideas that sooner or later render us useless for service, cold and even cynical towards the things of the Kingdom, and secretly despondent and despaired, because, somehow, that whole “Jesus thing” isn’t working out for us. And that is the point where the Enemy waltzes in to convince us – as he did in the Garden (Gen. 3:1-5) – that God’s way is just plain wrong. And by then he doesn’t need to do much persuading – a heart that has grown numb to God is halfway there anyway.
This is why there are so many warnings in the Bible about being careful with the things that the world offers. They’re not necessarily bad or sinful things – sometimes they are real blessings, like a family, a good job, a leisurely activity or financial benefits. But when they are not immediately and constantly submitted to the Lord and seen as gifts from Him, they have the lethal potential of weighing us down in our Christian race (1 Cor. 9:24-25). And a heavy athlete not only suffers more but is also quicker to quit.
I think that is how the Church has become today so cold, so lazy, so fruitless and so insensitive to her Lord’s voice. Today’s ritualism, liberalism and doctrinal heresy are just the collective product of hearts that no longer seek hard after God (Psalm 63:8), because they have fallen back in love with this world like Paul’s former companion, Demas (2 Tim. 4:10). The sowing might involve different seeds for everyone, but the sad harvest is the same.
Jesus warned that the seed of God’s Word will be choked in some of those who hear it (Mat. 13:22). May God open our eyes, in these last days, so that we can live in the fullness that He intends to.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… – 1 Peter 2:9