After the excitement of confession and growth there is an emotional exhaustion that has the potential to lead into a state of complacency. We start to get comfortable where we are. We are resting and taking a break from the emotional roller coaster we were on. This emotional exhaustion can come from both a good and exciting mountain top moment or a tragic devastating event. When you expel a lot of emotion, good or bad, it wears you down. In that moment you can decide to push forward or give in and become complacent. Some of us know exactly what this looks like. We start out so well. We confess our sins. Fall in love with Jesus. Boldly and loudly repent. Worship day in and day out. Then exhaustion sets in…you want to continue to be as bold and courageous as you once were but you are tired and you start giving in to the things you so boldly once confessed and repented from. You are finding a false assurance of release and rest in these sins that leave you empty and alone. Or maybe you don’t fall into some of those sins you just stop progressing. Stop moving forward. Stop keeping the kingdom as priority. You become very complacent.
As much as this happens to individuals it also happens to churches. We become very comfortable and complacent. We feel like we have a good leadership team in place or at least a good core that is doing what needs to be done…so as a church body we stop moving forward. It doesn’t seem like God is moving like He once did…which it’s not that God doesn’t want to it is we have stopped anticipating, expecting and fighting for God to move gloriously. So when we start feeling like there is a void in God’s movement we start adding programs and Bible studies to fabricate God at work. Listen a church with great programs and bible studies does not prove that God is involved. We equate business with godliness and that is a dangerous game to play. We move our eyes off of Christ and on to us while we pat ourselves on the backs with all the things that we are doing for Christ. At the end of the day we have walked away from our first love and have used Christ as a mere means to feel important and vindicated. We use Jesus to promote our programs instead of our programs to promote the supremacy of Jesus. We move away from confessing, well because we have already done that and there isn’t a need to confess any longer…We begin extolling our church name and programs and no longer Jesus…there is no longer a reverent fear for God and a desire to be naked in His presence. We have already accepted His grace so we live as if we do not need it anymore. Then God’s word becomes second to our decisions and programs…His word loses its impact…it becomes stale and mundane….there is no longer a desire to constantly realign with sovereignty of His word. And before we know it….we could seem fully alive…the church with the best programming…but be completely void of life and vitality not making a real impact on the Kingdom of God. We left our first love. We majored on the minors. We focused on the secondary things while what was primary drifted off into the distance. And we can do all of this while believing we are on the right track…..
How do we know this can be so??? Because authentic self-examination with God’s word as the magnifying glass can be extremely painful and difficult but supremely important. Because we can get off track so easily. Instead of self-examining with God’s word we compare to how other churches are doing and we give in to relevant anti-biblical anti-holy trends that draw crowds and makes friends at the expense of unequivocal truth and hope. We tamper with God’s word and try to draw people with eye-catching devices and cunning persuasion. In doing so we have convoluted the Gospel taking it out of the equation. We take the superficial over the supernatural. We care about what people look like on the outside instead of what God is doing on the inside. Just as we fabricate the work that God is doing on the inside of us with our appearance so does the Church with her programs and light shows and false assurances. If only all the seats are occupied, the performance is on point, and we pull their emotional strings that will satisfy. Then surely people will talk about how God was at work at church, this will multiply. We will share with friends and believers how awesome and impactful the service was and then try to convince our non-believing friends to get there….instead of bringing God to them out there. We will then lose the Kingdom vision. We will fall into the delusion that the end result of the person and work of Christ was for Church and not eternity. That finding the right church and being apart of that church is somehow the climactic moment for a believer. We then create a Country Club feel, wining and dining while people on the outside are dying. We become so spiritually fat we would rather debate the unsearchable with other believers instead of sharing the Gospel, determining that they are just unreachable. We become drunk on our self-righteousness, shooting our wounded and turning our backs on those who are dying, stating, I can’t stand the stench of their filthiness. Forgetting that our purpose is bringing hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. Let us together jump in the pool of God’s grace examining our hearts so God sets the pace and we once again join the call in bringing the Gospel to all, making disciples who stand on God’s word, yet still when we fall we are surrounded by an army of friends who beckon us to rise again and fight the fight that matters in the end.
So in conclusion, Church, let us stand up and go out there bringing the Gospel to the unspeakable places drowning them in the love of Christ that is incredible, showing the unlovable that we care. Let us take what we have learned in our bible studies and programs to propagate and serve the Great I Am. Knowing that He is the only one who can save and redeem this broken generation just as He has done for you and me. Please God bring the church to her knees, back to a place of confession and repentance leaning in on your forgiveness and acceptance showing your grace and love in the power of your presence. Let us live for your name alone extolling and praising your Son until we have made Him known to those who feel so alone. Church, let us stop judging and start loving, stop sitting and start serving forgetting what is behind and pressing forward for what is ahead advancing the kingdom making alive what was once dead. We are a part of the greatest movement that has ever been known powered by God and stamped by His Spirit we are the Church we will make it, we are unstoppable and unshakeable actively advancing His Kingdom, making Christ known until the day we are called home.