Do you remember people who were so dedicated to the Lord, that you had thought they might self rapture at any moment? They were the spear head of the spiritual movement that was sweeping not only the local body but the community as well! Have you ever wondered whatever happened to them? You might image their dedication led them into endeavors that would even dwarf their previous accomplishments. Sadly people are witnessing not a continuation of spiritual growth but a staggering number of MIAs (missing in action). What has happened?
The writer to the Hebrews faced the frustration of trying to teach the Jewish Christians who had slipped “spiritualdemically” (spirit/ academics. Failure to keep up their study/growth patterns). He tells them they ought to be teachers, but they had slipped so far they needed to be taught all over again. (Heb. 5). Today so many weekend believers think that fulfilling their Sunday obligation is all that is necessary to keep them in the right standing with God. Instead of independent study in the Word, they expect their Pastor to spoon feed them their spiritual “pablum”.
If one could talk to those who were once on fire and have slipped to mediocrity and have them be honest with you, they would give you a spectrum of causes that should awaken every Christian’s awareness with a pledge to avoid those pitfalls. Some would blame their diminished fire on people, everyone from spiritual leadership to co-believers. Tragically they turned their eyes from Divinity to humanity. When you get your eyes off Jesus you will see the flaws in everyone. A Pastor is human and will fail just like anyone else, but Jesus will never let you down. Others blame their spiritual “leak” on rationed Bible reading. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and Word was God”. The Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the Living Word. How you treat the written Word is how you will treat the Living Word. When you neglect the printed Word you will also neglect Jesus. Others blame their lost zeal to a waning prayer life. When we ration our communication with God, we are cutting our life line and it won’ be long before horizontal communication replaces our vertical sharing (one seeks advice from others instead of God). Lack of witnessing followed by compromising our beliefs leads to diminishing zeal. There is also plain old sin which is so well disguised that one fails to see its effect until it is too late. The middle letter in “sin” puts it all into perspective. When we respond to our self centerness and make everything around our desires, we will slip away from our commitment to the One who loves us so much. When we fail to obey the Word by not incorporating faith and works will decay our foundation.
There are many reasons for diminished commitment, but if we would center on the before mentioned causes we will not be deceived into compromising actions. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus; Read the Word with a hunger that surpasses our natural cravings; Continually talk and listen to God (prayer); Tell people daily the “hope of your calling”; Stay away from anything that would not please God; Finally obey the Word with Faith. When God says, “jump” your only response should be “how high?”