“We’ve Got This, God!”

If there’s one characteristic that plagues many American churches—especially the “megachurches”—is the self-sufficient attitude, along with the image projection. There really is a mindset of not really needing anything; that is, except for people’s money in the offering plates and select individuals (not so much their spiritual gifts, but talents) to fill certain slots throughout the church. But there is a desperate lack of authentic dependence on God and His workings. After all, they have a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and generous giving. No, the real trust is in the givers, for if they’re offended, they might leave. So compromises to the Word of God, and certain individuals are overlooked because they don’t fit the image the church is trying to maintain.

Jesus says of the church of Laodicea,

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. ~ Revelation 3:17

Do we dare to believe, or even consider, that Jesus is saying this to  many churches in America? Understand, I am not simply talking about “liberal” churches. No, I am talking about many conservative, Evangelical churches. Oh sure, there’s the pro-life stance, etc., but there isn’t a dependence on Christ for a mighty move of God. Why should there be? 

How can there not be? We can plant and we can water, but not a one of us can speak and bring life into a soul. We can stir emotions and work about warm fuzzies, but we are completely incapable of reviving a heart.

We think because we have beautiful buildings filled with lovely people that this itself is a sign of God’s pleasure, despite that many have no real hunger for God and His ways. Worship is about an experience more than exalting the living Savior. Youth groups are more about having fun and going to concerts, not about genuine discipleship and learning to serve Christ with surrender. Preaching tends to be topical rather than expository, lest the preacher seems too radical and people are “offended” by the teachings of Christ and the apostles.

It’s not that such churches are cold towards Christ and the Scriptures, but neither are they hot with passion for Him and His Word. There’s just a measure of indifference toward the things of God and too much love and comfort for the things of this world. Jesus is neither joking or playing games when He says,

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. ~ Revelation 3:15-16

How do we ever even begin to correct the problem? Through prayer! Serious prayer. Crying out to God for restoration, and confessing the mediocrity that’s offered in His name. When will we ever learn that simply because something is offered to God doesn’t mean He approves of it? God is never impressed with half-hearted devotion and lip service.

Do we really have it all under control? No, not if we’re not totally dependent on Him. Apart from Him, we can do nothing!

But Do We Desire Him?

So many worship songs today declare how God’s love and grace make us feel. He showers on us His love. He gave His life for us, and fills us with His peace. “I could sing of Your love forever,” we sing, but does this include when a driver cuts us off or a restaurant employee messes up our order?

We talk and sing about God’s great love and sacrifice for us—that He gave His all to redeem us, to make us His own. But do we love Him? Do we genuinely desire Him? Please consider what I’m about to say. We modern Christians have made our feelings and worship into idols. I’m afraid, if we are honest, many love the emotional stimuli surrounding worship far more than the God whom is being claimed as being worshipped. 

Another thing we’ve carved into an idol is knowledge. Many take great delight in studying the Bible, theology, and hearing a good sermon. Mind you, of themselves these are good things; however, do we love the knowledge more than the Giver of knowledge?

We will spend hours at concerts, conferences, seminars, or in studies. But how much time will we be still in God’s presence, simply conversing with Him in prayer? For the vast majority, such time is significantly decreased. How can we truly love and adore one whom we don’t want to be with, who cramps our style, whom we’re too busy for, and not worth sacrificing other things for just to be with Him?

Leonard Ravenhill observes, “A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.” How many of us can truly say our soul is hungry for God? What about when we set aside the music, the lights, and the various nuances and stimuli? Do we desire Him, to talk to Him, and to hear directly from Him? The psalmist writes,

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” ~ Psalm 42:1-2

How many of us can truly say this? God doesn’t only want our praise and worship (although He does want these). He also wants our hearts, our time, and our presence with Him. Do we give Him these from devoted hearts filled with love and desire for Him? If we can only muster a couple of minutes to Him, can we truly answer affirmatively? Oh, we desire warm-fuzzies, entertainment, and motivationals—but do we desire Him?