~~i want to be everything you dreamed when you called my name~~

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Serious Life...Serious Death

So a number of people have noticed this year that I’m not as outspoken about my Broncos…and I wanted to express that it has nothing to do with their mediocre season (I still love ‘em!)…rather, God has been working in my life over the last year about the place that sports hold in my heart and life…among other things. He has really revealed to me the way that I would get so wrapped up in and excited about the Broncos…from being convicted at how defeating trash-talking is within His Body, to ultimately Him developing a holy discontent about it in my spirit. I’ll see if I can explain it better.

I think it all revolves from a much deeper heart issue with us as believers that manifests itself in us as a dissatisfaction with the status quo in our churches. We often leave services wondering what was in that for me, we pick and choose which parts of the church we want to be involved in and which parts we will shop elsewhere for, and we begin to be lulled to sleep by the enemy of our souls because we deaden ourselves to the yearning in our hearts for a real, tangible encounter with God. And this is where God has really changed my heart about the Broncos (insert whatever team/activity/etc. here). God created us to have a passion for Him. Desperate hunger for more of Him is the currency of Heaven – it’s what causes us to empty ourselves of compromise and creates a holy dissatisfaction that drives us to our knees and makes us depend on Him. And I don’t think we can truly be hungry for God if we are being satisfied with other things. We become fascinated with the created, rather than the Creator.

When we get more excited or worked up over a football game (or insert whatever activity here!), than we do over the Word of God…that’s a serious problem!! Rather than allowing the Lord to cultivate serious life within our spirits, the devil is cultivating serious death within our minds – by lulling us to sleep. We constantly are nibbling on junk food from the world, and in the process have lost our appetite for the Holy of Holies! The really sad thing is, we often don’t even feel our hunger pains for Him. Satan has so lulled us to sleep, that we are starving for lack of His presence without even knowing it! The devil has on running on empty, and turning to everything the world offers to fill it…instead of turning to the only One who can truly fill and restore our souls. The issue is a lack of hunger – desperate, aching, unspeakable hunger for His presence! How hungry are we? We say we are hungry for God – that we want to know Him more and love Him more deeply – but are we? What are we hungry for? Perhaps a better question is what are we filling ourselves with? If we are already full from the lesser pleasures of this world, how can we have an appetite for God?

God has really taught me this last year or so that He cannot simply be added to my life like an appendage. He is not some lucky charm that I carry in my pocket and pull out when I need help. He is GOD!! He doesn’t (and can’t!) fit into our little boxes and our self-centered agendas. He wants to fills us to overflowing with who He is – and conform us to the image of His Son. I am confronted with the reality of Isaiah 64:7 – “There is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You.” We stir ourselves up alright…over sports, over our education, over music, over our families and friends. Please hear me, I am NOT saying any of these things are bad!!! What I am saying, is that when they take the place, and we allow ourselves to be filled by them rather than God, there is a serious problem.

This lack of desperate longing for God has brought us to where we are as a Church today. The stale quality of our spiritual lives is (I believe!) a direct result of our lack of holy desire for Him. Jesus just waits to be seriously wanted and invited. Instead – we often invite Him only to the things we think He fits into. We are fascinated by the things of this world…Oh how I resolve and pray that God will instill in my heart a holy fascination for Him. Sure, it might look like I’m not normal or unconnected to Western ‘reality’ – but who cares! That’s what I was called to be, that’s what I was created to be! Revelation 3:20 says this – “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” – and it is my desperate prayer that I will quiet the world around me to be able to hear his voice to open the door!

There has been a lot of hype and hoopla over the whole Colts/Pats game this past weekend. Last night I heard that a sportswriter here in Indy was comparing Bill Belichick with satan and I was heart broken. I’m not a big Bill Belichick fan – but all I could think about was God sees him as a LOST SOUL – one that we are called to love and pray for! (Ouch – I know…I have my own ‘Bill Belichick’s’ in my life. But we can’t lose sight of how God sees situations and people!) Anyway – my discontent over the hype of it all wasn’t that the Colts are the focus…I would have reacted the same way about the Broncos. I am just sensitive to the whole thing right now because my heart is tender over it with the Father. I don’t want to keep walking through my life, content and feasting on what the devil is laying on my table. I want to set aside those things and gaze upon my Father – knowing that His presence is what will sustain and restore me in the coming days. I don’t see the Broncos making those kinds of promises!

I guess I want to challenge each of us to season our days with Christ, and evaluate what makes us excited (or frustrated when it doesn’t go the way we would have hoped). Sport is just an easy example…because our society is so wrapped up in it, it’s easy for us to become wrapped up in it. Heck, my entire career is centered around it! But God is just wooing us, wanting to excite us that much and more!

Will we hear Him, and allow our bodies and souls to be filled with His Spirit? Or will we continue to allow the enemy of our souls to lull us to sleep and satisfy us with things of this world that will pass away?