It is a new year, but it does not seem like a whole lot has changed. We are still dealing with a pandemic, civil unrest, and a host of other issues. Some of us have just felt worn out and tired, and for some, even our faith has become stagnant. If this resonates with you, my friend, you are not alone! The enemy works hard at keeping the people of God in a place of apathy; as a matter of fact, I believe, the greatest sin in the American Church is our indifference!
Indifference is a lack of interest, concern, or sympathy.
Richard Wurmbrand, a man who spent fourteen years in a Communist prison in Romania, was being tortured for his faith, yet he miraculously survived and went on to start the foundation “The Voice of the Martyrs”. He wrote a book about his experiences called, “Tortured for Christ”, and in it he tells of his suffering in the West. Yes, in the West. Here. In America. Of course, he documents his suffering in Communist Romania as well, but what he says about the West is shocking.
“I have suffered in the West more than I did in Communist lands. My suffering consists first in the longing after the unspeakable beauties of the Underground Church. The Underground Church is a poor and suffering church, but it has few lukewarm members. Whoever has known the spiritual beauty of the Underground Church cannot be satisfied anymore with the emptiness of some Western churches…Much of the West sleeps… We Christians are often half-heartedly on the side of the whole truth. I have found truly joyful Christians only in the Bible, in the Underground Church, and in prison.” (Richard Wurmbrand)
Could it be that the luxury and comforts we find in our American churches are doing more harm than good? If you consider yourself a Christian, then it is time to step it up. We can no longer sit in stupor. We must get our passion back and return to our first love. We must lose our indifference before the Lord spits us from His mouth.
Revelation 3:15-19 (NIV)15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
I want to encourage you to do these 3 things every day to ensure spiritual growth, die to indifference, and return to your first love.
1. Daily Devotions
Take time to get into God’s word. If you cannot spend an hour every day, take fifteen minutes. Read a plan on your YouVersion account (come on folks, it is free). Open a devotional. If you do not already have one, I recommend “Sparkling Gems from the Greek” by Rick Renner. It is a great devotional and worth the investment. Go through the Bible in a year; it only takes fifteen minutes a day to hit this goal. If you genuinely want the “meat” of the word of God, you need to get revelation directly from God’s word which is, after all, the meat. Even the best sermon you will ever hear is still only a secondhand revelation to you. However, when you get into the word yourself you will begin to grow by leaps and bounds.
Sometimes I feel like Paul, the fact that I say the same thing over and over. But as Paul said in Phil. 3:1, “It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” Friends, we cannot do what God put in our hearts by our own efforts. Daily prayer helps us surrender to him. Remember, “To be much for God, we must be much with God” (Leonard Ravenhill). We must return to the prayer closet because we are living in a dying world that needs Jesus. There are no short cuts to revival; all revivals have started with prayer.
3. Serving others
Matthew 20:28 (NIV) “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Serving means giving yourself away. Too many of us are bored again Christians instead of born-again Christians. We have heard all the sermons, gone to the conferences, subscribed to the latest podcast, and read all the top selling books, and yet we have not seen God move in our lives like we want. That is because God’s word is not only meant to be heard but acted on. We have become spiritually obese, fat on teachings, yet lazy in the exercise of our faith. It is time to walk the walk and practice what we preach. It is time to serve others! One day we will give an account for what we did with the life, knowledge, and resources that was given to us.
We have a choice today; we can continue to sleepwalk through our faith, or we can shake off indifference by returning to our Foundational Christian disciplines. We must commit to daily devotion, prayer time, and serving one another again if we want to flourish and make a difference for Christ in our generation.
If you are ready to live what you believe in 2021 pray this prayer with me:
Lord, help me understand how totally unacceptable it is for me to be indifferent and spiritually neutral for Jesus. Please help me get back my passion and love for your word, people, and the lost. I ask you to forgive me for being slothful and I ask you to wake me up. Help me regain the zeal and fire I once had. Help me return to you with all my heart and soul and help me bring others with me. I pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen.