Monday, January 2, 2017

Wake Up!

The days of New Year's resolutions are upon us.  It was very apparent as I pulled into the gym parking lot today, the first Monday of the year.  I could not find a parking spot!  The area of the parking lot where I usually park my Suburban (a.k.a. "The Tank") has less traffic which allows me to swing out wide or even be able to pull into a spot where there are no cars.  Not today. Resolutions have been made, the gym was packed, and I couldn't help but think how I would probably not be seeing most of these cars in a month or two. 

I believe it is always good to reflect on the past year and see how we can improve in the next to be healthier or a better friend or a better mother.  I believe even more deeply that the most important thing which does have eternal value is our relationship with Christ.

During my reading last week, these verses hit me like a ton of bricks.  Many in the church are going through the motions of Christianity.  I wonder if we all could wake up in some area of our lives as part of our New Year's resolutions.

Jesus says to the church in Sardis in Revelation 3:1b-5 (ESV), "1I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels."


How can we wake up?

Stop pretending!  
Verse 1 talks about how some of the people in the church have a reputation of being alive, but they are dead.  I have known people like this in the church.  Have you?  There have been times in my life I felt like it was me and times when I felt my faith seemed to have become dry!  I will never forget what Ruth Graham said in Billy Graham's book called I Am.  She said she had learned to not rely on her feelings in her relationship with Christ.  Feelings can come and go like the wind, but it is the commitment to Christ which never changes or waivers (my paraphrase).  Just like in a marriage, there are some days you feel mushy-gushy towards your spouse, and there are some days that you don't.  What doesn't change is the commitment you have for your marriage.

Wake up!
Wake up, come to your senses and seek God through prayer to see in what ways you may have fallen away from Him.  A great prayer to pray is Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) which says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"

Remember!
Verse 3 talks about remembering what you have learned.  We are called to be doers of God's Word and not just hearers only (James 1:22).  We are called to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and with all of our soul (Matthew 22:37).  Remember how God has been faithful to you.  Remember how Christ gave everything for you on the cross.  Remember how God has given you His Word so you can know Him.  It is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

Repent!
If God convicts you of a sin in your life, repent and turn away from it.  It might be hard, but you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).  There is no temptation where God has not provided a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even things in our lives which are not necessarily sins such as watching television or looking at Facebook can become sinful if it takes time away from other things which we should be doing such as discipling our kids or if it causes us to be slothful in our home.

Make yourself accountable!
Verse 4 talks about how there are some in the church who are worthy.  If you are feeling less than, there are many around you who would love to be there for you, to hold you accountable, to pray with you, to mentor you, and to love you.  All you have to do is stop pretending and ask!  Humble yourself, reach out and see if God will not honor it.

There is nothing better we can do this year than to wake up and be closer to God.  Nothing better than to grow stronger spiritually.  Nothing better than to know God more.  Nothing better than be held accountable with other Christians.  Nothing better than to be in God's living and breathing Word.  I am praying for you this year, and I ask that you pray for me in the Lord.  

Blessings, Andrea

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