In my last post, I began to investigate some things that have spiritually handicapped us as churches and Christians (See part one). This is a very serious problem and it has certainly hindered our ability to fight the spiritual battles we face on a daily basis.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12)
As we seek to fulfill the great commission that has been given us, we meet opposition. Satan WILL NOT sit idly by as we attempt to reach sinners with the glorious Gospel of Christ! It is foolish to enter into battle without the “whole armor of God”, but every day people face this opposition without protection and without strength. It is never a good idea to enter a battle handicapped in any way. Last week, I identified one of the things handicapping us … our DESERTED PRAYER CLOSETS. But the identification of the problem is not the solution, correcting the problem is.
Today I will identify 2 more things that handicap the believer and our churches.
There is a basic Biblical principle that we often dismiss … the principle of Sowing & Reaping. The things we sow in life are the same things we reap later on. Christians who live worldly, sinful lives expect the same blessings from God that He gives a dedicated and separated Christian. But it never works that way! They reap the seeds that they have previously sown. But as the sown seed begins to mature, they recognize the rotten fruit and think it unfair that they are stuck with rotten fruit while the separated Christian has good fruit! We can easily recognize the foolishness of this reaction in others, but we often fail to recognize it when we’re the one reaping rotten fruit.
Churches live by the same principle! Many churches are spiritually handicapped because they have sown the wrong seed. They are without the power of God and fail in their spiritual battles. “… Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 1 Cor. 5:6”. Leven is symbolic of sin and Christians are to be unleavened. Our Lord expects us to live our Christian lives with sincerity according to the truth of the Word of God … and He blesses those that do! The solution is simple, repent and live the life of the new creature in Christ.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14”
Successful, growing, and thriving churches are churches that have ambition. They desire to serve Christ to the best of their ability. They do not rely on the past because those things are history. Instead they reach for those things still out in front of them! If we talk about our service for Christ and begin the sentence with the words “I used to”, we’re not serving! We should have spiritual goals that we are striving to meet. My ambition is to be more like Christ and to tell more people about his saving grace. These are good things to strive for, but they are general goals. We should also set SPECIFIC goals for ourselves. I can have a goal to read my Bible more this year, but to read my Bible from cover to cover this year is a better ambition. Telling more people about Christ this year is a good goal, but witnessing to at least one person a day is better!
The church without ambition is a dead church and the Christian without ambition is a dead Christian! I want to be a thriving, growing, Spirit-filled, and fruitful Christian doing my best for Him who shed his blood for MY SINS!
We must each ask ourselves, “What kind of ambition do I possess? Is it dead ambition? Is it Misdirected ambition? Or is it real spiritual ambition?
The things that have handicapped us spiritually are all things that our Lord wants to restore in us! But the choice is ours to make.