God’s love is not some fuzzy thing
That lets us do what we think best;
It guides and warns, and shows the way,
And always puts us to the test. – D. De Haan
In previous years, I have taken part in many Bible studies and courses. A very memorable one for me was with Dr. Earl Cooper through Heritage Bible College. I had a great hunger to learn more about the Bible, and true to God’s calling Pastor Earl kept the food coming my way. After I finished this course I continued to study the Bible on my own as well as at church. However, by this time in my walk I had drifted into a sporadic spiritual routine with my busy business/home life taking top priority ahead of my spiritual life.
In reality, I had become a lazy… lukewarm… armchair… Christian. I was content to sit most of my time in my armchair on the sideline, and show up on Sundays for my weekly ‘God’ fix. So by the fall of 2001 my armchair had become a very comfortable place indeed.
Dr. Cooper was still Pastor at Pinegrove at the time the church had arranged a week-end conference on Henry Blackaby’s book ‘Experiencing God’ with a study course ‘Knowing and doing the will of God’ held in small groups in the weeks to follow. What the conference began in me, the small group I attended at Dave and MaryLou’s brought together an encounter with God that profoundly affected me.
When I first heard the title ‘Experiencing God’, I thought “What does that mean? If you’ve been saved, you’ve experienced God.” Which is true, but God wanted me to experience so much more of what He had to offer than my weekly God fix ever could.
It was during this week-end conference that He began to change me and my spiritual life. I will never forget His exact words to me spoken so clearly by the end of the conference through Revelation 3:15-16.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Whoa! Talk about a revelation!
As if that wasn’t hard enough to swallow, He continued . . .
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:17-19
At that point with tears streaming down my face, I repented. I made a vow to Him right then and there that I would never again be ‘lukewarm’ when it came to worshiping Him!
Since that conference and the course that followed, I have experienced God in many wonderful ways. What an adventure it has been!
Every time I go to Fresh Encounters or other Bible studies, I learn about my Savior. His word is always right there before me and in my heart and mind like pure gold. I see him every Sunday at church through godly men who faithfully preach His words. Women He has put before me to teach me more about Him. Through prayer which opens my eyes and heart to His love and care for me in ways I would never have felt or known.
He has done things in and through me that I am ill equipped to do, but He continues to use me in spite of my inadequacies and handicaps. I have experiences with Jesus I would never have enjoyed if I had stayed in my comfortable armchair.
But most of all … through coming to know Jesus in such a personal way I can hear His voice directing me, which in turn helps me to make the right choices when difficult crossroads arise in my life.
I encourage anyone that is sitting back watching time slip on by, that are too busy, are hurting, have hang-ups or habits, or they’ve slid down that lazy slippery slope into a comfortable weekly God fix – Wake up before your time is up! There is no slippery slope, hurt, hang-up or habit from which Jesus cannot rescue and free you.
There is one stipulation however … like me… you must first get up and out of your comfortable armchair!
Either we conform our desires to the truth,
or we conform the truth to our desires. … Os Guinness