Loving God, Equipping People, Mentoring Leaders, Reaching Nations
As I travel and minister in various places I notice that once vibrant Christians have lost their zeal and their passion for the Lord and often for the Church. I have been in my present city and the Network I belong to for 30+ years and so I have know some of these people a very long time and so I can compare what they use to be like to what they are like right now.
Oh, some of it may simply be that they matured. So, they don’t come across as radical and disturbing. Some of it may be they have mellowed with age and are not as expressive or excessive as they use to be once upon a time.
However, my observation would be that although these two things may account for some of the cooling – the reason for the loss of passion must be found by looking elsewhere.
It is going on 1:00 a.m. and I have just returned from a road trip. Had a lengthy conversation with a once dynamic and vibrant believer. No longer would you find him is such a state of spiritual health. What happened, I wondered, as I was driving for several hours to arrive home and spend some time in my study?
I don’t think it is anything sudden for most believers. It is not a “the sky is falling” event. It is a subtle neglect of the basics that form a healthy spiritual life and a slow erosion of the passion and life that once was. If your relationship with the Lord is like a channel or a river flowing from Him to you – this river or canal simply slowly fills with silt until all life-flow is stopped. It is clogged with things, events, activities, thoughts, opinions, philosophies, friends, family, entertainment, the media … and these things, not always bad in themselves, begin to slowly fill in the channel or the river. These things, thoughts, and events take believers away from the basics of Bible reading, Bibloe study, meditation, prayer and fasting, and witnessing. These important features of a healthy spiritual life get neglected. And slowly the other more worldly things subtlety fill in the time and take over the passion once reserved for the Lord. It’s called neglect – very subtle with no one yelling to warn you it is happening.
Reminds me of a piece of history I read just the other day, and I quote:
Downfall of the Great
Ancient Ephesus survived many cataclysmic events in ancient times, including regime change and local uprisings. It was rebuilt after devastating earthquakes. But one thing it could not survive was neglect.
You see, the one thing that finally did Ephesus in was not the Romans or any other superior power. What finally spelled its doom was the fact that its harbour – and important seaport – was allowed to fill with silt because the citizens simply couldn’t be bothered to keep it dredged. The once proud and important city with its incredible baths, beautiful library and phenomenal temple is now a deserted archaeological site nearly 10 kilomentres from the sea. The beautiful marble glistens in the sun as numerous tourists come to climb on its ruins.
As I left Ephesus I was struck with a profound sense of sadness as I realized that even if you are a beautiful, wealthy and important city like Ephesus (with a thriving church besides), all that’s required for you to meet a similar fate is for you to do nothing.
[Stanley E. Porter – President of McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. From an article in Christian Week – April 11, 2008 edition, page 5 – www.christianweek.org
Neglect – simply neglect – can cause a once dynamic believer to loss his or her passion and simply find themselves going through the motions without any signifigant meaning.
Christian beware – it takes intentional effort and focus to remain alive and vibrant as a Christian and as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This lesson was really driven home just a few hours ago as I chatted with a believer after a great night of teaching on evangelism.