December 17, 2005

Nostalgia

As 2005 comes to a close I find myself looking back over the years of my walk with Christ. Iím entering the twenty-fifth year of knowing Jesus as my personal Savior and seeing His providence in my life, how He has kept me through many trials and tribulations, leaves me awestruck. He hasnít kept me out of trials, but held my hand throughout.

Recently I stumbled upon a web site that has vintage audio messages of a variety of preachers and teachers both good and bad. [http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads] Iíve been listening to many of them and itís almost like walking down Memory Lane. Some of them remind me of the days when I was a new believer, when the moving of the Holy Spirit was evident in the preaching of many pastors and evangelists. There seemed to be such an urgency in those voices to get the Gospel message out in anticipation of the soon return of the Lord.

I went back even further and heard messages given by teachers from the 1950s and 1960s and in those voices there was a sense of a supernatural outpouring of Godís Spirit. Even those who taught error out of ignorance still showed more life and enthusiasm than much of what we find today.

It seems the entire Body of Christ has fallen into apathy as the Lord delays His coming. And that includes me. I would like to think that I am just as excited about the Lord and His Word now as I was twenty-five years ago, but Iíd be lying if I said so. As a new believer, I was absolutely obsessed with my new found faith. All I could think about or talk about was Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Now donít get me wrong; I am still totally devoted to my Lord and Savior, but Iíve grown complacent. I grew weary of the reaction from people who didnít share my enthusiasm and began avoiding me like the plague. It became easier to just keep my opinions to myself rather than face the scorn of others.

"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit" (Psalm 51:12).

Cares of This World

The cares of this world also encroach upon believers who seem to be forced into the position of working for two masters. All of us have bills to pay and responsibilities to family in an inflated economy. Many work for employers who expect their employees to give their all to the company product or service. Our loyalties can become divided. Ever notice how companies today seem to want more than just the use of your skills and abilities? They also want you to adopt their vision and principles. They donít just want your efforts; they want your soul too. In some establishments where profits matter more than people, sales teams operate under group think Ė programmed by their employers who prepare them with seminars and meetings to instill in them their own peculiar philosophy of business. Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24).

I have dealt with this by working in jobs that donít require a lot of emotional involvement from me. There is no shame in hard work. In fact, the Bible says, "If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat" (2 Thes. 3:10b). Perhaps the Amish have a good idea in community work at farming and crafting. No one forces them to attend motivational talks or sales meetings that teach employees how to sell people what they donít want or need.

I know the remedy to all of this is the renewing of the Holy Spirit in individualsí lives and in the corporate body of Christ. And we have this promise: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13). Weíre in this together. We need to hold one another up in prayer asking the Lord for a new outpouring of His Holy Spirit.

Iíll end this Reflection with a song we used to sing when I was a new believer. It is my prayer and I hope it is yours:

Make me like You, Lord, Make me like You.
You are a servant, make me one too.
Lord, I am willing, Do what You must do,
To make me like You Lord, Make me like You.

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