Tuesday, December 24, 2013

ZOMBIES!...Coming to a church near you

In talking about revival at today's bible study the topic naturally moved on to spiritual death. I likened it to the perennial "frog in a hot plate" scenario where the water is heated ever so slowly so that by the time the frog realizes it, he's already cooked.  Many Christians at one time or another also experience a slow but barely perceptible decline in their spiritual fervor, awareness of God, hunger and thirst for him until one day when they're beginning to doubt that they ever even believed.

Worst yet are those who are the "walking dead" but don't even know it. Writer Kimberly Jones  likens them to zombies - What a picture of spiritual slumber! They go to church, participate in ministry, even preach, but the fire is long gone.

Jesus tells the church of Sardis, "You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead!" (Rev. 3:1 )

Remember the parable (Matthew 25) about the 10 virgins (bridesmaids) awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom (Jesus)? All of the virgins fell asleep waiting- it happens to all of us at times. But only those who had been cultivating their relationship with him all along were ready for him when they awakened. They had a reserve of "oil" to draw from. Perhaps those virgins who were unprepared, whose oil ran out, were simply bored from the wait!
"I was so excited about this wedding at first. I got all dressed and ready but it's been so long since I've seen the bridegroom zzzz..."

Many things contribute to this spiritual slumber, from the normal ebb and flow of our spiritual "feelings" to un-confessed sin and compromise. Aside from un-confessed sin, I think one of the greatest causes in the Western church is simply the loss of a even a vision of a full-blooded, take-no-prisoners passion for Christ. We lost the vision that years of living with a burning heart is not only attainable, it's essential.

My most precious seasons with the Lord have been during times of His loving discipline. My increased passion usually follows such seasons. Once, when I was in a long period of doing for God rather than being with God, He let me observe a male pigeon courting a disinterested female. While I studied the blasé female ignoring her suitor God whispered, "That's you!"  Yikes!

So what are some warning signs and how can we snap out of it?

When a person is sick and not eating, they may be force fed, through a feeding tube if necessary, on the hopes that their appetite will return and they will be strengthened and feed themselves. Likewise, when I feel myself fading I force-feed myself on the Word. I journal even my empty feelings. Pray even if it's rote. Put myself in places where there is vibrant worship; hang around people who are hot for God until my own fire returns. And then I gut it out, slogging along in faith that if I "draw near to God, He'll draw near to me" - James 4:8. Finally, I have to ruthlessly root out compromise from my life. The Holy Spirit won't give me peace until I do.

Whatever the cause, spiritual slumber is an EMERGENCY! We have to stop the zombies from not only becoming normal for the church, but replacing the church. Lackluster Christianity is not normal!

So I say "no!" to the creeping death of spiritual complacency and boredom and yes to an "abundant life" - a life overflowing with a conscious awareness of the presence of God; security in His burning desire towards me, and an eagerness to go wherever He goes no matter what.

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11

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