This is the second part of examining a sermon from John Piper about passion for the supremacy of God. That sermon is from a few posts ago.
Growing cold…What a slippery slope we Christians sometimes find ourselves on. How easy is it to go from being red-hot and passionate about God to making God something He is not. To making Him like a checkbox that we can check off to appease that guilty feeling we can feel when we don’t pray or pray the things we feel we should. Or when we don’t go to church or read the Word. We start to confine God and make Him some type of ritual. We stop being passionate and desirous of God and let the busy-ness of life interfere. We start seeing all that we need to do and stop seeing the thing we need above all. The very thing we are absolutely dependent on to get through this life.
Growing cold towards God??? How can we do that? It is a completely detestable thought to me. Yet for all the talk I have about wanting to be used by God for His purpose; all the various things I try to do like reading the Word; sometimes all of these things I do because of wrong and impure motives. I do to appease my guilt. The very thought of growing cold towards God scares me, yet I feel much of my life is lived in a lukewarm manner. I hate that and I never want to be like that.
I think the hard thing is I feel so close to God in the hard times. It seems like when times are really tough, those are the times where I grow and learn the most from God. I wish I learned as well in the good times. I wish that I would seek God better when times are good in the same way I do when life is hard. I feel that when life is good, I start to get lax in my devotion. I try to take shortcuts or don’t do the things I should do.
When we moved to the Chicago area, we came with such good motives of wanting to be lights in this new place that God has put us. We wanted to be able to create a spark in people, but as time went on and life got in the way, our mission to make a difference faded. We forgot why we are here and focused on other things. The thing for us is we started having to deal with other hardships and pains. One after another after another. We forgot to use our misery as our ministry.
As I look around our city and neighborhoods, I see this coldness toward God. I see this bleak outlook that people have on life and about God. It pains me to see how cold those around us are toward God. It pains me to see people who claim to be believers acting anything like they know God. I, for one, fail God so much. I don’t exemplify or glorify Him like I should. I don’t act with the boldness and courage God gives us. He promises to give us everything we need each day, yet I find myself not being a spark in this dark place.
I never, ever want to grow cold toward God. I never, ever want others to. I want to be a spark for Him. I don’t want to just go through the motions and take up space. These people that I work with, that are my neighbors, that are my brothers and struggling, I want to take what Piper says and encourage them. Remind them. Spark them. But it is hard and it takes time. I am not patient. Or to say it another way, I don’t want to lose my saltiness.
I can’t do any good being cold. I can’t do any good being indifferent to God or His calling or what He has created me to do. I may not know what it is, in fact I don’t, but I know He has me in this place at this time for a reason. I don’t want to be a part of this glacier that is cold toward God. I don’t want to be a part of life that doesn’t live all out for God. I don’t want to refuse to do God’s will one more day. So no matter how small or big the responsibility is that God gave me, I want to make the most of it. I need to make the most of it.
It won’t happen by my strength or power or might. It won’t happen by anything that I do. but by everything that God does through me. I trust Him with this life, this battle, this mission. Not for my glory but for His. I don’t want to do these things because I want to earn salvation or show Him how good I am, but out of genuine love comes genuine faith that leads to genuine acts. So if it means we will be hated, then so be it. it is better to be hated by the world and serve God, then loved by the world and not serve God. For a person who struggles with wanting to be liked by everyone, that is hard. It is difficult, but my God comes first. I have to remember I am not here to please them or this world, I am here to fulfill the purpose God has given me. It will be difficult, but God will help you and me.
I pray that each of us takes our mission, takes where we are at, takes this glacier that we are near and become sparks. It may mean pain and persecution, it may mean death, but I can think of no better thing than to lay down our lives and die for the Gospel. I pray that for you, wherever you are at can spark those around you, whether it is school, your work or your neighborhood.