Danger for Long-Term Christians

Having served Christ for decades, she felt a strange disorientation in reading “Danger for Long-Term Christians.” What? Defensively a long list of benefits from serving Christ immediately flooded her mind. “More time provides greater opportunity to learn of Christ, grow into his image and develop the fruits of the Spirit,” she thought. Her quick mind was not finished, “the greater the distance a person places between oneself and sowing to the flesh should diminish the trouble being reaped from those prior actions.” Having adequately defended orthodoxy to her satisfaction, puzzlement settled in as she proceeded to read.
“In Revelation, Jesus extended the grace of a pre-emptive warning to the Ephesian church in hopes that drastic action would not be necessary: ‘I know your works and your labor … I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the works you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place.’/1 Jesus was not finished. As he looked at the Laodicean church they also needed the blessing of a wake up call, ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. … Those whom I love I reprove and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.'”/2
Stuck in her mind, Jesus’ words refused to go away. They can have a way of doing that. With them came a growing realization. Even into her own Christian life a lethargic paralysis had slowly crept. She knew she loved Christ and even worshiping with the saints, but the paralysis, while obvious, had remained conveniently out of sight. Whatever overt action she might have taken for her Lord had been strangled by worries. The weeds Jesus had warned about in the Parable of the Sower had so dominated her agenda there never was time to even think about reaching others for Christ or doing her part to help the church fulfill its various ministries. Furthermore, motivation to serve had been lulled to sleep by: “we’ve tried that before,” “what I do won’t make any difference,” and “I’ve put in my time.” American prosperity had fueled a Laodicean-style satisfied consumerism while an Ephesian lethargic laziness had overgrown her spiritual life.
Her thoughts turned to her husband. He always had time and energy to work on his projects, enjoy recreational activities, relax in front of his favorite tv shows. Funny thing though, he just never seemed to have enough time to lend a hand in helping with the many opportunities of service presented at church. Of course, like the Ephesians and Laodiceans before them, they too would show up for worship. But clocking in for another worship service was about the extent of their labor for the Lord.
How we live each day to serve Jesus and whether we actively participate in supporting the efforts of the church to fulfill its role is important because we are the church. We have a mission, purposes given to us by God. Christ knows what our physical limitations might be. He is also aware of what we are capable of doing. But most importantly, Christ knows what we are doing. For those who will have chosen to show faithful service will come the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
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1/ Revelation 2:2,4,5
2/ Revelation 3:15,16,19

4 thoughts on “Danger for Long-Term Christians

  1. An outstanding, thoughtful article. It really challenges us to not grow complacent. Keep helping us to stay faithful.

  2. Larry, thanks for being a Barnabas. With the short time granted to us upon this earth, let’s strive to be an instrument our Master can use for noble purposes!

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