So the crisis continues! And it appears that it will for some time yet. The big question many are asking is what is God doing and saying in the middle of it all?
For sure things have been turned upside down. Millions of people who relied on Church gatherings and Church services to sustain their Christian faith have been devastated. Thousands of leaders, preachers and Christian workers are discovering that they have lost their voice and some even their occupation. There is of course the scramble to do what has normally been done in ‘church’ online. However, for many, if not most, this is a poor substitute for the reality they have been used to.
For many years there have been voices within the Christian community who have warned that there was a ‘shaking’ coming to the Church – and that many things would fail and fall at that time. I believe we are now living through it. However the problem is, for many who gave this warning, myself included, when the ‘shaking’ affects your own tree it’s not quite so pleasant! And I believe we are all being shaken! I know I am.
So – what are we to say? I believe that in this moment God wants us to come to the point where we really and honestly evaluate our lives and church communities with an open heart.
I believe God is calling us reject those things in our lives and church communities that have not been in accordance with his clearly defined will and purpose. And I believe He then wants us to refocus on the things that are in line with his heart and passion.
But more than that – I believe he wants us to reconfigure our thinking, our minds and our character so they are a reflection of his. This is truly revolutionary but in reality it is not a complicated thing. It does not require any special insight or prophetic revelation, it does not require theological prowess or to attend any course (we have had too many of them already) – it simply means coming with an open and honest heart and in the light of God’s clear and written revelation asking – ‘Father – show me your heart – and open mine to receive it’.
If we are serious I believe it is a prayer God will willingly answer – for his overwhelming desire for us is that we become like him in all our ways, our thoughts, our actions, our behaviour and our passions!
But be under no illusion that such a prayer, such a journey, such a desire, will bring you into conflict with the world and the church. The reason is simple. Hitherto both of these entities have, by and large, pursued a life strategy which is the polar opposite of the heart of God.
For instance the Church, as well as the world, have placed value on a wisdom that of not of God. We have pursued a wisdom where self seeking, envy, boasting, jealousy, competition and many other things are the order of the day. We might expect this to be the kind of wisdom pursued by the world of business and politics but sadly, as we have said, it is one that has also been adopted by many Christians and Christian organisations in their own pursuit of ‘success’. We have failed to be a people who have lived for the Kingdom of God – choosing rather to build our own kingdoms in our own way – and so have adopted the ‘wisdom of this world’. Consequently and tragically millions of our friends and neighbours have never seen a true expression of the heart of God or know what it would look like to live in his Kingdom of love.
I believe at this moment we are being asked to examine ourselves in the light of this. The apostle James clearly outlines just how anti God all these things really are (James 3) and then he says this –
‘For that has nothing to do with God’s heavenly wisdom but can best be described as the wisdom of this world, both selfish and devilish. So wherever jealousy and selfishness are uncovered, you will also find many troubles and every kind of meanness. But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable.It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form and it always bears the beautiful harvest of righteousness! (TPT)
As we open our hearts honestly before God then we must ask of our lives and the life of our Churches – ‘Are we pure, filled with peace, considerate, teachable, free from prejudice and hypocrisy and filled with love’? Please be honest here.
This is not meant to come from or result in condemnation – but from a simple honesty that will allow us individually and corporately to repent and move forward.
The Apostle Paul continues this theme and encourages us –
‘Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over (sadly so often we have). Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbours’ interests first. In other words, adopt the mindset of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts.’
Philippians 2: 3-5 (TV)
‘Adopt the mindset of Jesus’! It is only here that things will truly change for us and for our world. This is more than asking ‘What would Jesus do’? To be adopted means to come in to the life of a family. We are being invited not only to come in to the family of The Father – but also to take on the mind of that family and ‘Live with His attitude in your hearts’!
It amazes me that the the Apostle Paul was able to say to the early Christians – ‘We have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2). To have the mind of Christ is to think as God thinks! No wonder they changed their world – and only when the people of God in our generation rise up to live, breathe, act, and behave with the mind of Christ will we see the change so many of us long for and which our world so desperately needs.
I believe God is offering us a chance, in these days, to return to this place. To return to ‘business as usual’ when this is all over would be a tragedy. And this is no new teaching or philosophy – but one that has been revealed as the heart of God since ancients times. So I leave you with the word of God through the Old Testament Sage, please take some time to meditate on these words –
My child, will you treasure my wisdom?
Then, and only then, will you acquire it.
And only if you accept my advice
and hide it within will you succeed.
So train your heart to listen when I speak
and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment
then pass it on to your sons and daughters.
Yes, cry out for comprehension and intercede for insight.
For if you keep seeking it like a man would seek for sterling silver,
searching in hidden places for cherished treasure,
then you will discover the fear of the Lord
and find the true knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2 (TPT)
I am grateful to my friend James Jordan for kick starting some of my thinking here.