What can account for the spiritual state that American Christians are in? It seems, at least to me, that we are and have been for hundreds of years now in a state of slumber. Sure, there has been some tossing and turning, some wiping of the eyes, yawning and even stretching of the arms. We look around but after a quick inspection of the world around us through heavy eyes ready to close again, we do not get up. I believe that the Church in America has never fully awakened. We have never gotten out of the bed of our own making, tucked in tightly with our most comfortable compromises and lulled to sleep by the false promise of what we will do tomorrow. We have shooed the call of God away.
We have not awakened to the possibilities of the hope that is within us due to the presence of Jesus Christ, partly because of our own hubris as we believe that we can arise on our own. Though our plan is uncertain, subject to change or exchange for that of another from day to day, we would much rather rely on ourselves than to have our lives guided by the will of God. This is one of the fruit of the seed of individualism so heavily planted within the soil of America. Another such result is that of detachment also known as independence, the belief that we don’t need anyone to assist us in our becoming– not even God.
Also, we have not risen when called to stand for God and against the sins of our society because we have plugged our ears in order to hear more clearly the sound of our own voice. We just don’t want to hear what God is saying to us anymore. We are tired of hearing the voice of God and the American Church is partly responsible for this as the message of Jesus Christ has been substituted for political banter, fundraising campaigns and motivational, therapeutic speech. His mission has been redefined as that of social justice, racial equality and the like as the Gospel, his good news, has become our opportunity to proclaim stories about ourselves, our causes not his ministry, our passion not his purpose.
We are self- satisfied, living from the words of our own mouths and not that of God. We have no desire, no appetite to try God’s Word but trust the reviews as it were of others regarding this spiritual dish. But, no one who has dined on the Word of God has left God’s table dissatisfied. If you have not tasted, then you will not be able to see that the Lord is good and that the Lord is good for us (Psalm 34.8). We are literally full of ourselves, swollen by our inflated egos and heavy portions of self- deception.
I believe that we will not get up so long as we are not alarmed by our sinful condition, our poor spiritual state. We simply do not care enough about our spiritual life and its needs. We do not want to face the reality of our life’s disorientation a part from God and God’s Word. So, we turn over, pull the sheet over our heads and dream more deeply of the life that God has promised us, too afraid to wake up and live it.
Reflection Question: Has God withdrawn God’s Word from us or have we withdrawn from God’s Word?