Neutrality, part three

On Tuesday so much of what God was showing me about spiritual neutrality and seeking the Lord was geared towards unbelievers. But for those of us who are with God, there’s still something to take away from all of this. I know most of us have those periods where we’re not as close to God as we should be, when we’re not praying as much as we should be and we’re not studying our Bible like we should be. Times when we’re missing church and slipping back into the person we used to be instead of forging forward as the new person we are in Christ. Let me ask you a question. In those times, are we seeking God? Probably not, right? And what does the Bible teach us about not seeking the Lord?

2 Chronicles 12:14 And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

When we find ourselves slipping into one of those Christian funks we need to get before God in repentance in a hurry. What we might view as “just a little dry spell” is defined as evil by the Bible. I think we have an extremes problem. Either we let mistakes rule us, and we bring the same sin before God night after night begging for Him to forgive this thing we did years ago that we can’t seem to forgive ourselves for, not realizing that He’s forgiven us already and wants us to move on in victory. Or, we take our sin too lightly. I think when it comes to these Christian funks we’re taking them too lightly. We’re not reading the Bible, barely praying, missing church, but hey, it’s just a little dry spell. We’ll get through it eventually, no reason to make a big deal out of it, right? But look, if the Bible tells me that not setting my heart to seek the Lord is EVIL, then I need to quickly realize when I’m in a period of time when I’m not seeking Him and I need to get repentant and back in seek mode real quick.

I think this also speaks to our need to stay accountable to other believers and to stay on top of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to welcome our fellow believers being nosy, we should thank them for staying invested in our lives and questioning us when we seem to be a little off or have missed church. What’s worse? Risking annoying someone by checking in with them often or risking them slipping into a bad period away from God? We need our brothers and sisters help, you guys. This is a tough path to walk, the Bible tells us that straight up.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

There’s Jesus telling us that the gate is narrow, the way is hard, and those who find it are few. Wanna hear something? That actually scares me a little bit. Not a bad fear, but a good one. Whenever I’m reminded of the difficult path of following Jesus, it sobers me up a little. It reminds me that this isn’t a game, it’s not something to take for granted. And it reminds me that when I see a fellow believer that might be wandering off the path a little that I should go after them. We need to love each other enough to be nosy, to send the text message to see where they are, to make sure they’re okay both physically and spiritually.

And you know what else? We gotta stop trying to be so perfect all the time. I know I did a blog series on that not too long ago, but let’s get real. Let’s say you miss church twice in a row and you get a call from your friend from church checking up on you. “Everything okay, Aaron? We’ve been missing you and I wanted to make sure everything was okay.” Is it fun or easy to say “Well, actually, I messed up pretty bad last week and just was feeling so guilty that I didn’t feel worthy of coming to church and feeling God’s love.” No, that’s not easy at all. That’s revealing a deep thing, something we’re ashamed of. The usual response you and I would give is something like “Oh yeah, I’m okay. Been having a rough couple of weeks but I’ll get back to church next Sunday. Thanks for checking up on me.” We say that because it’s easier and less embarrassing.

Accountability only works if there’s honesty. I can’t help you if you won’t tell me what’s the matter. Stop giving the easy answers, stop offering the vague excuses. If we can’t be brutally honest with one another then who can we be brutally honest with? “You know, I didn’t come because I had a serious need and I prayed and prayed and God didn’t help me out and I was too frustrated to face Him.” “Well, to be honest with you, I fell back into some bad habits this weekend and wasn’t exactly in any shape to wake up Sunday morning.”

Who are we trying to fool, brothers and sisters? We’re eternally linked under the banner of God. We’re going to know each other F O R E V E R. We might as well get comfortable with one another because this relationship is going to be in place for eternity. Share your struggles with others. Find someone in the church who can act as an anchor for you, someone you can reach out to if you feel yourself stumbling. Would you rather admit imperfection to a trusted brother or sister in Christ and get help or suffer through a period of not seeking God and not experiencing all the beautiful things that come when we’re in right standing with Him?

In a war, no one is neutral. And as believers, we are in a war daily. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. Temptation, spiritual attack, these are daily fights we fight. Can we be fence sitters in matters of God? Can we declare ourselves neutral in the battle between God’s eternal salvation and the world’s mad dash towards destruction? Can we remain noncommittal and unmoving when our fellow brothers and sisters are stumbling and struggling? Neutrality is a myth when it comes to the things of God. If you’ve proclaimed yourself on the side of the Lord, it’s time to put your all into the fight. This is for me, too. I said this in another recent blog but God’s just repeating this over and over. It’s time. It’s absolutely time, you guys. It’s time to get in the fight, it’s time to go all out for our King.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I thank you for the battle lines that exist.  You make no mistake, you leave no room for neutrality.  With or against, it’s as simple as that.  When the conflict is clear, the path to victory is knowable.  You make our path to victory knowable, and I just thank you for that.  You’ve been dealing with me on that this week Lord, showing me escapes when temptation hits.  You show us the path to victory.  I stand on your side of that battle line, but when I look across I don’t see my enemies, I see my future comrades.  God, draw people across today.  Uncover their eyes, unclog their ears, set their heart to beat in time with your own, Lord.  Show them where they stand, some don’t even know they’re against you.  And show them who you are, because when they see who you are they’ll come running.  I pray that they come running in masses, God, that the faith is overrun with new believers in this day.  The days are dark, God, and that just makes me want to fight harder and shine brighter.  Be glorified in these difficult times, and please continue to be patient and merciful.  You have shown an unbelievable capacity for patience with us, Lord, and I ask that it stretches a little further.  There are still people on the wrong side of that battle line.  Give us time to go invite them over, at least give them a chance to encounter you before they choose their final side.  And please, Jesus, touch their hearts and help them make the right choice.  I love you, my King, and I just praise your holy name on this day.  Be glorified in my life, Lord.  You deserve all the glory.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Man, I love you guys.  I’ve been so thankful for prayer today, it’s just really been on my heart to celebrate the amazing gift of prayer today.  Talk to God today.  He really is the absolute best, and man does He love you.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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