So I’ve been thinking tonight as I study my hebrew, and I remembered some things I’ve heard from many pastors in study or pastors already in the field (and I guess, practically speaking, still in study as well) complain about not feeling spiritual anymore. I have even felt this at times and wondered why. But for the past three years I have been trying to figure what consitutes being holy.
In the past I kept wanting to think that just talking to God would be great, and I did that. And for awhile I felt good about myself, but that changed after awhile. Slowly I began to feel a drain on my life again. Something just seemed like it was dissappointing when God looked at it. I think I later started to see what that was.
Nights of prayer became wrestless. Days became a drag as I thought that I was still inadequate. Maybe it was just me? Maybe I was just depressed. Maybe I was being childish and basing my religion on my emotions? Or maybe my feeling dissappointed in what was really going on?
I looked harder in scripture and found some things in there. It was amazing, and what was even more amazing is that I only looked in the Old Testament. Actually, it was just the Torah (The first five books of the English Bible). Some of you guys already are thinking, yuck. You think it’s Law and genealogies. But I assure you, there are deeper things. In it you find people being called to a higher act of kindness and love. They are being called to free each other. They are being called to be kind to nature and be kind to animals. There are being called to look at each other as equal humans (even among male and female), and to respect the foreigner, despite the desire to look on him with disgust. Have you ever wonder why half of the ten commandments (I say half, but it’s arguable that it is actually 6 laws) are made in reference to men? What kind of God does that? And why?
These are loaded with the ideas that God loves humanity. Most other gods of that time and even later were at times violent and mostly apathetic when it came to humans. We were viewed as mistakes or flukes.
But in the midst of that…
Amazing, is it not?
So here in your hand is a God unlike common unloving culture. It loves all and wants to be followed. Now, common sense tells you that if you follow a leader of any kind, you do what he commands. That is, by common definition, following. As christians we will call it belief, faith, following, even loving, but they all say that I am under this leader/master.
See where I’m going yet? Just read on if you don’t.
If you think you can follow a God of love and not love as he loved, what makes you think you are following? That my friends is a serious question. It is here that we cannot say that we can run around in fields of tall grass holding God’s hand and saying everything is dandy. That answer at this point is outright ignorance and not even wanting to know truth. Run away from that idea.
Since we cannot except the first answer, how about this? God wants us to follow him. It’s a simple phrase that can seem complex, but is only complex in rare occasions when thinking, “How?”
I answer how with what do you know.
What do you know about the starving in your community and the world?
What do you know about the homeless in town?
What do you know aboutabused Children or battered women?
What do you know about civil rights issues for your area?
What do you know about the crime rate in your town?
What do you know about the pregnancy rate among teens?
What do you know about…?
And WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
This does not just apply to the individual, but to the people all together. You wonder why your personal life is spiritually dry? or your Church’s spiritual atmosphere is dead? Maybe you need to answer the death of those outside the walls to experience life again. It is amazing that God will try to go to the place of need with or without us; and when he does, we just seem to know.
My suggestion is reunite the spiritual things with the physical. I am starting to wonder if that has hurt the church more than help it. Instead of taking that dualistic, Greek philosophy, I think we should learn from our Jewish brethren. The word in the bible for soul is nephesh. If you want to know what another english word is, it is the world self. Emotion is also used. It seems crazy that such a word is originally in or religion supposed to make salvation apply to our entire lives. Redemption is not just Christ risen and we are spiritually okay. It started back with Israel in Sinai learning to love God and each other. Redemption of the world is found in this and is faithful to ressurection faith.
So if you have been looking around and trying to talk to God, maybe it is time to just SHUT UP! Listen for awhile. Can you hear His voice calling you to serve? Can you hear him magnify the thousands of hurting voices around you. If so, maybe it’s time for you to quit trying to feel good about this faith, and actually be challenged by it and follow it. Faith without works is dead, so what good is your faith if it does not serve anyone.
Are you the guy he counsel spiritually but doesn’t help with the environment?
Are you the guy who prays but doesn’t want to be bothered when watching football or basketball?
Are you the guy who enjoys being called spiritual, but does not bother with social problems?
You need to take that seflishness and that lie and stab it on your back porch and bleed it to death. That way you can actually do God’s will and actually feel spiritual for a change.
God wants to save the world.
God wants to save humanity.
He wants to save Christians.
And he wants you to do your small part.