Our Big Problem
For some time I have been convinced that a big problem in the American Church is that we have a mindset that implies that Jesus can be added to our already basically intact worldview. I am convinced this is a faulty way of thinking about discipleship. Jesus doesn’t want to be added to our lives. He isn’t an additive that we put in our “spiritual gas tank” to make us go farther and longer than we could before he was added.
Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Time was pregnant (Gal. 4:4) with the news of the Kingdom and of course a kingdom implies a King. Jesus is a King. He is our King. A King rules. He has subjects. Subjects are to do the bidding of their King. We exist to do the will of the King.
Jesus doesn’t want to be added to our lives.
He wants to rule our lives.
He wants to overrule everything in our lives that is at odds with his will as our Sovereign. He wants to revolutionize everything we ever thought about everything. Everything! Under his benevolent and righteous rule, everything in our lives is to be brought into conformity to his will. The Lord’s Prayer gives the pattern. When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” we are breathing Kingdom air. The prayer requires us to pray for the overthrow of every thing in our lives that is raised up against the knowledge of God. That isn’t a picture of minor tweaking around the edges of our lives. That is a constant revolution. It requires a daily picking up of our cross (Matthew 10:38; Luke 9:23).
“The more I think of and pray about the state of religion in this country, and all over the world, the deeper my conviction becomes that the low state of the spiritual life of Christians is due to the fact that they do not realize that the aim and object of conversion is to bring the soul even here on earth, to a daily fellowship with the Father in heaven. When once this truth has been accepted, the believer will perceive how indispensable it is to the spiritual life of a Christian to take time each day with God’s Word and in prayer and to wait upon God for His presence and His love to be revealed.
“It is not enough at conversion to accept forgiveness of sins, or even to surrender to God. That is only a beginning. The young believer must understand that he has no power of his own to maintain his spiritual life. No, he needs each day to receive new grace from heaven through fellowship with the Lord Jesus. This cannot be obtained by a hasty prayer, nor a superficial reading of a few verses from God’s Word. he must take time quietly and deliberately to come into God’s presence, to feel his own weakness and his need, and to wait upon God through His Holy Spirit, to renew the heavenly light and life in his heart. Then he may rightly expect to be kept by the power of Christ throughout the day, and all its temptations.
“Many of God’s children long for a better life, but do not realize the need of giving God time day by day in their inner chamber through His Spirit to renew and sanctify their lives.
“Meditate on this thought: The feeble state of my spiritual life is mainly due to the lack of time day by day in fellowship with God.”
Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
I’m still hunting down the exact reference. The material I am reading just attributes those paragraphs to Murray and doesn’t tell which of his books it is from. But there is enough here. We need to help our people take personal responsibility for their spiritual growth. Murray’s final sentence is haunting . . .