Plugged pipes are not good. I understand plumbing better than I do the sphere of medicine. However, I understand clearly that the gradual build up of impediments within a copper pipe or an artery have a way of eventually disrupting one’s life.
Such a principle has application in a believer’s walk with God. A holy life, a clean life is imperative. God’s passion is that we be conduits of His grace to the people in our sphere of influence. That’s why the Word of God exhorts us to “Be holy, as I am holy” and at the same time it condemns self-righteousness.
The standard of holiness, the measure of a clean heart is the Lord Jesus Himself. The way He conducted Himself before the Father and people is our highest pursuit. When we choose something less than His ways, we clutter our lives with impediments that distract us from His fullness—the potential we were designed to experience.
Among the impediments are the personal distractions that swirl around our lives. Add to our busy lives the phenomenon of social media and every second can be absolutely consumed with something less than God’s best.
For example, accommodating too many extracurricular activities for our children can consume so much of a family’s time that they cannot find time each week to eat together and debrief.
There are so many things that can distract us and one size doesn’t fit all. However, if we invite the Holy Spirit to examine our ways, activities, attitudes and alliances, He has a way of pointing out our distractions and helping us respond appropriately.
The same can be said about churches. They can be so distracted by activities that they forget their reason for existence. Some believe Southern Baptists have more meetings than any group on earth. We have committee meetings, children’s ministries, women’s ministries, men’s meetings, and the list goes on indefinitely. Then we add to the meeting list all the events. But how many events are targeted for the people outside the church?
Granted that collective meetings and events are part of the way God’s people learn to love one another and serve together to fulfill God’s purposes. Should we not ask a question about each meeting and each event – “Does this activity facilitate a higher level of holiness and increased evangelism?” Or “have these good things become impediments to what the Lord actually wants to accomplish through His church?”
Conventions have a way of falling into similar snares. While Southern Baptists know that revival is the greatest need in their churches, we can be distracted by ecclesiastical politics, the latest methodology, a contemporary theological fad, current political conservative positions or even think that if we change our name, more people will accept our churches.
Obviously, our preaching should be informative and our
ministries relevant but do we spend too much time embracing public relations techniques to “spin” our message out to the contemporary culture? So much time and resources, that we fail in equipping people for a vibrant life in Christ.
Are we better at equipping people with organizational techniques than we are at mobilizing people to seek God’s face and engaging lost people in conversation? Are we beating the drum more loudly for the latest worship techniques instead of teaching people the value of a holy life? We must resist the distractions and focus on what is most important to our God.
If we are brutally honest, we must ask, “What is a major contributor to the moral and spiritual decline in our nation?” Isn’t it the negative impact of the inconsistent living by Christians who have never experienced a transforming work of the Holy Spirit? Christians that do not know what it feels like to be clean as a result of individual repentance and fresh surrender of his/her life before the Lord. We cannot skirt this issue anymore than a homeowner can neglect the plumbing.
The primary impediment is that we, the church, must understand that such a movement starts with us. We are tempted to point our finger at “them” or “those people” but the Holy Spirit is looking at our own hearts and our need to be honest about the iniquitous impediments in us.
So what will we do? Will we examine ourselves and pursue the Lord with open, transparent hearts? Will we run to the altar and prostrate ourselves before Him and not leave until He grants us a renewed vision for a life in pursuit of God’s own heart?
Revival or Awakening is the movement of God’s Spirit among His people who are desperate enough to do whatever it takes to seek Him above all things.