Something’s going on.
It started about 18 months ago – you could just feel something was changing.
I talked with my accountability partner about it – he was feeling it, too. We couldn’t pinpoint it back then, but we just felt that there has been this spiritual intensity that we’ve never felt before. And we weren’t the only ones. We kept running into the occasional believer who felt the same way.
During the past 18 months, it’s only grown stronger. Let me see if I can put into words what I’m feeling, which is always difficult.
First, it seems as if the church is being tested in such a way as to separate the wheat from the chaff. We are told that the gate is narrow (Matthew 7:13) and that not everyone who thinks they are following Jesus actually are (Matthew 7:21). We are told plainly that if we love Jesus we will do as He commands (John 14:15), which obviously also means that if you’re not doing what He commands you don’t really love Him and thus are not following Him!
To be blunt, the church in America is falling away.
In the Book of Revelation, we learn that of the seven churches Jesus addresses, only two are doing what Jesus commands. The other five have a form of godliness that is not glorifying Jesus (2 Timothy 3:5). Fast forward 2,000 years and we have churches embracing the world and its culture instead of obeying what Jesus commanded and thus becoming apostate. You have so-called believers who do not actually believe God’s word or Jesus’ commands. You have church members who outwardly reject God’s call to holiness and righteousness. Honestly, it’s a mess out there. Pastors are not creating disciples who do what Jesus commanded. The church is not searching for the lost sheep. And for the most part, the church doesn’t really care if someone is going to hell because half the church doesn’t even believe there is a hell.
Yet, my buddy and I feel as if there is a reason for this as difficult as it has been to go through. We see God testing His people to see if they will really stand by Him in faith or if they will be like the 72 disciples who leave Jesus when the teaching got hard (John 6:60-70). Francis Chan recently preached that for those of us who stay committed to Jesus it’s going to be pretty lonely.
But there’s more going on than this testing of the church. There is a serious uptick in spiritual warfare. Satan is making a push!
You don’t have to go farther than your favorite news outlet to see the evil that is being perpetrated in the world has increased. And I’m not just talking about violence, although it certainly is evident; I’m talking about divisions, and distrust, and hate, and factions, and loss of faith, and a general degradation of social order.
You can also see Satan’s hand in blinding people to God’s moral code and then convincing people that whatever they want to do is best (2 Timothy 4:3). The result has basically been people abusing other people in a variety of perverse ways.
And Satan is so smart that he has us convinced that it’s about politics, policies, race, gender, love, guns, mental health and other worldly issues when if fact God tells us plainly that it’s spiritual warfare that must be fought with spiritual means not worldly means (Ephesians 6:10-18). In this battle, it’s like we are fighting a tank by throwing oranges at it and we think we’re winning!
If you’re a student of scripture, you know things get worse not better. Now, I’m not one of those end-times prophecy guys, but I can read. The end will, indeed, come and we are moving closer to it each day. And here’s where the rubber meets the road: whether Jesus returns this afternoon or 10,000 years from now is quite inconsequential for your own life. You only have so long to live so you have an unknown amount of time to get this right!
For me, my head has been consumed with my eventual meeting with Jesus. What will He ask me? What will I be able to tell Him? Can I confidently look Him in the eye and say that I gave everything I had – my money, my time, my talents, my gifts, my life – to glorify Him even in the face of disbelief, ridicule, lost relationships, and perhaps worse? Or will He look me in the eye and ask me why I wasn’t willing to believe His promise that if I did give all these things and more that my reward in Heaven would be exponentially more significant than anything I had lost for Him? Oh, ye of little faith! I never want to hear those words from Jesus!
Here’s the weirdest part of what’s going on right now – not everyone sees it! In fact, in checking with those around us my buddy and I have figured out that most in the faith don’t recognize anything happening. Honestly, we can’t figure out why we feel and it and others don’t, but we definitely do!
And because of what I’m feeling I have become even bolder (if that’s possible!) about where I stand when I talk with my Christian brothers and sisters. People are going to heaven or hell and Jesus gave us the job to tell them about the gift of salvation. If we don’t do that, we have culpability in their eternal destination! I for one have no interest in trying to explain to Jesus why I didn’t share Him with others when He gave me the opportunity to. That meeting wouldn’t go well for me!
I know I’ve not done a very good job of telling you what I’m feeling – it’s just so hard to put into words. I feel frustrated with my fellow believers who don’t feel an urgency to share the gospel – the whole gospel! I am overcome with despair for those to whom I preach who I know aren’t buying the message and continue to be blinded by Satan. I’m angry that Satan has such a foothold in our society and yes, even in our churches! I am apoplectic when I read the news and the insipid worldly arguments put forth by the competing sides in an attempt to sway public opinion when in fact they have no idea what’s happening! Yet, at the same time I’m giddy because I think God is going to do something big! I can just feel it!
So, yeah, you probably think I’m a little crazy right now. Perhaps I am – according to The View television personality Joy Behar, I have mental illness because I believe Jesus does, indeed, talk to me! However, perhaps you’re feeling it to! Perhaps there’s been a stirring in your soul you can’t quite figure out so you’ve just ignored it. Maybe do this – maybe think about exploring that stirring to see if there is something Jesus is trying to tell you. Again, I honestly don’t know what it all means and why some of us are feeling the way we are. But I do know that it has refocused us on Jesus and our mission for Jesus like never before.
Am I crazy or do you think I’m on to something?