“Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things…” Jeremiah 33:3
Bad habits are hard to break. When certain ways of thinking and behaving become deeply entrenched in our psyche it becomes difficult to change them. We see this in families, communities and entire cultures where certain destructive behaviors and tendencies continue to be repeated generation after generation. Even though they are destructive they continue because, well, it has gone on so long it’s all that is known and the better behaviors are never sought after for they are unknown and unfamiliar. When you add the reality of demonic deception you have what the Bible calls a stronghold.
Sadly, this malady is present in the body of Christ. I have summarized it this way: We’ve been so long without the presence and power of God we’ve become dependent on other things. Listen to how A. W. Tozer describes it.
We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone...We have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.
These cheap substitutes for the power of God take many forms but they could be summarized by calling them man-made ideas done in man’s own strength. Francis Chan in his book, Forgotten God, says it this way. “Without [the Holy Spirit] people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results.” Man can do a lot in his own strength but it lacks the transforming power of God. Much of the church growth movement fosters this as churches too often are built on a man’s personality or leadership skills rather than on the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a difference and it is best recognized when we ask, “Where is the power of God?” I mean really, when’s the last time you saw something at church that could only be explained by the presence and power of God? If you want to know what I mean by things that can only be explained by the presence and power of God simply read the book of Acts and then look around you. I think you’ll see what so many others are seeing—a huge gap! You see, we’ve been so long without the presence and power of God we’ve become dependent on other things. And is it not true that we’ve become used to it being this way? Why? Because it’s all we know. Truly, the church has developed deeply entrenched ways of thinking and behaving that leaves us impotent and irrelevant.
Can things change? Yes, indeed, they must change. Where does such change begin? It begins when we see the reality of our condition before God; that something is wrong, that something is missing and what we’re missing is God’s presence and power. We must stop asking, “How do we get people into the church,” and start asking, “How do we get God back into the church?” And remember, God is for us. He wants us to get it right by getting back to Him. He is shaking everything that can be shaken and He is speaking to His people. Hear Him say, “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things…” Jeremiah 33:3