Why is what I’m about to talk about important? It is, one, because I need this for myself and you may also need this. My life is not and has not been prioritized in the way that it should be. It is a little Out-of-Sync from where it should be.The Real issue is that I have no one else to blame for this, because the responsibility of living this balanced, prioritized life lies solely on my shoulders. My personal life with Christ is not where it should be.
Why your church may need to hear this? I am taking notes from a message I heard spoken. There was a survey taken from Christians that attend church from all different backgrounds across the board (new, old, denominations, non-denominations, etc). They put “us” into 5 categories.
-Growing in Christ
-Close to Christ
They had 4 different practices categories, such as – praying, confessing sin, reading scripture, and setting time aside alone with God. The reason this blog is called STALLED is because people in the STALLED category were often sometimes lower in the practices categories than even the “Exploring Christianity”.
Right now, I would say that way to many of us, including me are in and have been in the STALLED category. New explorers, believers, new to church people for the most part are excited about everything – reading, growing, getting involved in groups and programs, they are growing! That was/is you. Then 2 years, 3 years or further down the road, all of the sudden we “STALL”. We all I’m sure have experienced this before. We look back and think, “What Happened?”, “I was growing, becoming more like Christ, amazing things were happening in my life” and then all of the sudden, it kinda just “STALLED”.
2 things can often happen when we get “STALLED”. 1- They often leave the church, because they are frustrated and angry and they assume that I must not be doing something right, because I was growing and all of the sudden I am stagnant and have been that way sometimes for a couple years. Thinking “Either the Christian thing wasn’t really true” or check out because I’m feeling guilty that I am not where I need to be. 2 – People will stick around and complain about everything, because they can’t quite put a finger on what it is that is going on. So they say “the church isn’t doing it for my anymore” or say “I need something deeper” (Which you probably do, but are looking in the wrong place.)
If you are STALLED in your spiritual life and are Out-of-Sync. You are looking in the wrong place. You don’t need more “me”, you don’t need a better message, or more intense worship, you don’t need another program, You certainly don’t need to find a new church. What you need is more of Jesus Christ in your life. And you haven’t found a way for that to happen yet. You are depending on certain instruments and institutions to do that for you that weren’t intended to do that for you in the first place.
John 15 talks about Jesus being the vine and us being the branches and apart from him we can do Nothing. Look it up and dwell on in for a few minutes. Its pretty simple. It’s not just some cute little phrase, it’s not something Jesus just wanted to put on a t-shirt or something. This is a promise, the REAL DEAL. He tells us to “Be in Me”, not just be in a church or a small group. This next thing I am going to tell you is KEY, make sure that this hits home with you!
“You Have to OWN your Own Spiritual Life” – You need to get to that place where you understand that that is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!
As you grow and mature as a believer you become less dependent on programs and more about an arranged life. The church can do it’s best to team up with you and try and make things clear for you, but at the end of the day, no one can do it for you. No one can read scripture for you, serve for you, give for you, etc)
You have to OWN your own spiritual life.
In Mark 1:14-15 Jesus tells us “The time has come, the Kingdom is near” and is telling us that (paraphrased) “it’s possible for you to live in the context of the kingdom. You can be a part of the kingdom, all you have to do is follow me. Do what it is that I do. I don’t care how old or young you are, how good looking or athletic you are. If you want to be a part of the kingdom movement, you can be a part of the movement, just follow me. You can be like me, you can experience transformation in your life.” The Apostle Paul talks about this in Romans 12:1,2, being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Being transformed as talked about in the Bible is very dense, deep and sometimes really hard to try and figure out and understand. How can we spiritually transform, what is the best way to do that, where do we go from here?
I am going to give you an Acronym that can probably help us in this area.
V is for Vision – Understand what Spiritual Transformation looks like/to really follow Jesus
I is for Intention – YOU have to make a DECISION that YOU want this more than anything else in life
M is for Methods – a process and certain disciplines
Matthew 13:44-45 “Kingdom of Heaven”, we need this Vision, discovering the kind of life Jesus wants you to live.
We have settled for a life of mediocrity, a life chasing after cars, money, popularity, a raise, applause and ignoring the Reality of the life that God has called us to live.
We can grow more like Jesus. Spiritual Transformation is possible if we lean on Grace and Faith and we are willing to center our lives around the activities of Jesus Christ. We have compared this vision of the life that Jesus wants for me and the reality of where we are really at. There is this gap. I’m not really where I want to be. I’ve settled and am chasing after all this stuff that is different from the life God has designed me for.
If we are honest, a lot of us would say my life really isn’t centered around the fact that Jesus is in me. Instead we wrestle with doubt issues, fear issues, anger issues and all of these other things are dominating my life but not Christ in me.
We are not talking about external behavior or legalism, we are talking about the “inside”, about Christ being formed in you and understanding that that’s a reality and that is possible. That is the Vision, and at some point Intention and decision has to come, you have to say to yourself that “That is what I want, I want that.” Of course this won’t be a perfect journey. There will be times when you forget, get off track, screw things up, but the decision we will always come back to the Intention of it! ARE YOU THERE?
Methods – Jesus engaged in certain practices in his life here on earth. He withdrew himself to spend time with the Father, He threw himself into scripture, He was always a part of service and community. If Jesus used these methods, how much more do we need them in our lives, how much more important is it. Don’t only “trust” Jesus for your salvation, but trust him with your life. Believe that he knew and knows how to do life. The purpose of methods is to free you up in the right things at the right moment. It’s not just another chore or responsibility to make you feel guilty.
Intent – Have YOU yourself made the decision for yourself that you want Christ formed in you and you want something more than a STALLED or stagnant life, more than anything.
John 8:12 Jesus said we don’t have to walk in darkness. Don’t be a slave to earthly things. Follow Jesus into his way and this way of life. Jesus freed us from the power of sin.
John 10:10 Jesus came to lead us to a better life and a better way.
So if you are STALLED. Remember that YOU have to OWN your own spiritual life. Its not anyone else’ responsibility. Sync up with Jesus way of life.