When I was a kid growing up, I loved watching the G.I. Joe cartoon. It seems a little goofy now, but it was one of the coolest things on TV when I was 12 years old. At the end of every show they had a public service announcement segment. It was a brief little snippet about safety or social responsibility. The kids in the cartoon would say, “Now we know!!” to which the instructor would respond, “And knowing is half the battle.” Having the knowledge is half the battle . . . but it’s only half.
There are other parts of the world where believers are facing desperate times. They are poor, persecuted, and harassed by the wicked and by things like disease and famine. In these parts of the world, those believers see God’s work an a scale of biblical proportions. They see the sick healed, the lame made to walk, and even the dead raised. It is easy to become skeptical of these reports, but the fact is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is having a tremendous impact and spreading like wildfire in those parts of the world.
We become skeptical because we have redefined “normal.” What is normal for us is a much more casual faith. Like the church in Laodicea we say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing” (Revelation 3:17). We acknowledge God, but trust in our abilities and resources. We know the truth, but we don’t really live by it. We have dozens of translations of the Bible available to us. We can read that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” fifteen different ways (all saying the same thing). We can even parse the Greek to really grasp the nuances of those words . . . but we simply don’t live it out. We know and so we are fighting half a battle because we don’t apply it – really apply it.
If Jesus were to look over your bank statements and check register, would he find that you love God with your finances? If he perused your calendar or your daily planner, would it be obvious that you love the Lord your God with your time? If he opened the scrolls in heaven and read over the manuscripts of your conversations with your friends, would he be able to see an unbridled, unashamed love for him?
If he were to be . . . scratch that . . . since he is the unseen presence with you when you are all alone, in your free hours, would he see that you love him with all your heart in how you spend your time? I am ashamed to admit that in all these ways, God would likely see that I believe in him and involve him, but do not effectively love him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
If we do not fully love God, we cannot fully trust him. When we do not fully trust him, we will not be wholly devoted to him and cannot be obedient to his commands. What we will do instead is argue with ourselves, “Was that God, or was that me?” and justify inactivity and disobedience. We will trust in conventional wisdom, popular opinion, and current trends rather than trusting God and following as he leads. When we live this way we do not experience the power and presence of God, and the witness of the church is utterly robbed of its power. It becomes a social club and a crutch. It amounts to half a battle. You cannot win if you only fight half a battle.
We need to change our lethargic, timid, compromising church culture. We need to trade our sedated Christianity for a vibrant, devoted faith that trusts the power of God and sees it manifest in our lives in ways that cannot be explained. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change, so the absence of power in the life of his church can only be explained by a change in the church and its view of God and faith.
Will you join me as I pray for revival and awakening in the church . . . not just my church fellowship, but The Church – the global church? Will you open your heart in prayer with me for a greater, more complete love for God, a deeper and more complete devotion to God and his word? Will you join me in asking God to open our eyes to his great work all around us that we may partner with him? Will you pray and ask God that this trend begins in your own heart?
Learn more about the author Pastor Michael Hayward
Want more of Pastor Mike? Check out his series on The Ten Commandments of Homeschooling