Confession: I have not been living the life that I believe God wants me to live. Nope, not even close. It is not that I have had a moral failure or that my faith has lessoned or that anything has happened that someone on the outside would even notice. In fact, if you are on the outside looking in you would probably think that everything is rolling along just fine, you might even admire my family and I as an examples of what a Christian man and his family should look like. My failure is complacency. I have become a lukewarm person of faith.
There was a time not too long ago when I was on fire for Christ. I was a new Christian who had seen crazy miracle type things happen on the regular and I was captivated. I was so excited to serve and share that you could not shut me up. If you knew me you knew that there was something special happening. I got plugged in with leaders around me and even started to become a halfway decent one myself. There were knowing smiles and handshakes all around. It was great for me and everyone else seem to enjoy watching it all happen.
So what changed? Not much, really. I just sort of leveled off. I got happy being the guy I had become and little by little just quit trying to be anything more. I got comfortable and settled in. You might wonder what all this “settling in” looks like. Here are some examples.
1. The first thing is that my prayer life began to suffer. My one on one time with Jesus went from something I craved to something I put very little effort into. I was too busy or tired or distracted. I needed to do regular marriage and family things that everyone has to do. The problem was that those normal things slowly crept up on my priority list while my time with Jesus slowly slid down. As you might have guessed, when Jesus went from number one to number two or three or even four, everything else began to suffer.
2. My Bible has collected more dust than I am happy to admit. The Word of God that I claim to wrap my whole life around sat under a pile of junk mail and grocery receipts on my nightstand.
3. Not only has my own prayer life declined but the prayer life that I share with my wife became nonexistent. My wonderfully awesome wife has asked me time and again to increase the time that we spend praying together and I have somehow managed to blow it off so much that we don’t even do it anymore. That changed yesterday and I pray that the change will continue.
4. We attend an awesome church. I love it there. I came to Christ first on my own and then I was fortunate enough to walk into a place where I feel loved, encouraged, and part of something far bigger than myself. All that being said, our church attendance has faltered. Where I should be leading my family by being the first one out the door on Sunday morning, I became the first one who suggested that maybe we were too tired or too overwhelmed by the previous week to go. A once in a while skip became more regular and now we are spotty at best.
I’ve gone from the guy that was on fire for God to the guy who lives the comfortable Western style Christian life that I have always claimed to abhor; checking in at church on an occasional Sunday, praying mostly just when I need something, Tweeting an occasional bible verse, giving next to nothing, serving very little, just checking off stuff on a list of things to do.
My family and I just returned from an awesome six week long vacation. We toured the United States and saw so much. I took all eight of us, crammed us into a travel trailer, and drove almost 7,000 miles. Throughout that time together God was speaking to me. It was little words here and there. Nothing bombastic, just a quiet voice, a whisper in my ear, “come back”. When we got home the voice was still there, quietly encouraging me to make some changes. We have been home for about ten days and it is still there but with every new day that passes it is becoming louder and louder.
There is security in knowing that even though I may have grown lazy and complacent, my God has not. He is loving and patient, ready for my repentance. Even with the small steps that I have begun to take I can see, feel, and experience his immediate response. The fire is returning. I am ready!