Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dearly Beloved

TO CHRIST BE ALL GLORY, HONOR AND PRAISE.

May I give you a word I believe is from the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit? It has to do with what I believe is one of the greatest needs in the church today. Indeed, it is a word every believer ought to hear.

This is the word: Growing numbers of Christians are no longer fully satisfied with Christ. He is being dethroned by what the Lord himself called thorns. Jesus defined thorns as the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of other things entering into the heart. Christ said these are the thorns that choke the Word and cause it to become unfruitful.

I ask you, is the Lord more on your mind than a year ago? Do you spend more time in his presence than a year ago? Is your passion for him growing or withering?

Many of those who once were passionately in love with Christ now run about pursuing their own interests. They’re burdened down with stress and problems, chasing after riches and the things of this world. They have grown cold or lukewarm, and they have less and less time for Jesus. The Lord and his church now get only an hour of their time, on Sunday mornings.

Jesus said, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered” (John 15:6). In other words, that person is drying up, no longer drawing life from the true vine. He is deceived by thinking all is well, because he still speaks the language of the intimacy he once enjoyed with Christ.

Of course, riches and the things that are necessary in life are not evil in themselves. All of us face cares and troubles in this life. The sin comes in the effort, time and energy we spend in pursuing these things, at the expense of neglecting Christ.

One day soon we all will stand before our blessed Christ to face his judgment seat. We will see him face to face. I want to stand in my Lord’s presence as a fruitful son, not ushered into his presence as a lukewarm, withered, estranged, thorn-choked servant.

I hear the Holy Spirit calling the Lord’s people back to their first love. Back to hungering and thirsting for more of Christ. Back to spending quality time in his presence. Back to loving his Word. Back to casting all cares upon him. Back to depending on him for guidance.

Christ desires intimacy with his bride. He yearns after his beloved to return to him with love and obedience. I humbly submit this word to you, trusting the Holy Spirit will stir your heart and draw you closer to himself.