Spiritual Obesity: A Western Dilemma of Indolence and Inaction
I am going to start off with two numbers: 6.9 billion and 4.29 billion.
The first number is the current, growing population of the world, which is quickly creeping up on seven billion people. The second number is what could numerically happen if we focused on being the body of Christ in a way that He calls us. Meaning, in 16 years there could potentially be 4,290,000,000 people around the world that are discipled followers of Jesus Christ. That is 4.29 billion people who could know Jesus as a result of a person focusing on making one disciple in six month, and then those two focused on making one more disciple by the end of the year; resulting in four total people in one year that are disciples. With that minimal amount of replication, (4×4, 16×4, 64×4…), there could be a minimum of 4.29 billion people who would be in a genuine, loving, serving, full, developing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, statistically, there are reports that the Christian faith is doing the opposite. It appears that we are actually reducing in numbers. I do not know if those reports are accurate or not, but judging by how many people are talking about leaving the Church in mainstream religious discussions, it does make me think there is some merit to the statistics.
Why is this happening?
I mean think about it. Today you can go on iTunes and download a free sermon for every hour of the day. You can turn on a Christian radio station and listen to hundreds of popular praise and worship songs. You can make a faith-filled donation and receive anointing oil that will be used to create miracles. You can buy tons of the latest books by the most amazing authors. You can turn on late night Christian programing and see the Holy Spirit move in such a way that people are fainting left and right. You can go on YouTube and see practically any form of worship, Church, spiritual gift, or movement of God all over the world. In practical terms, it would appear that the Kingdom of God is at our finger tips.
Yet, with all of these resources and information there are billions of people who have not accepted Jesus Christ, and thousands upon thousands that have never even heard the name Jesus, let alone heard about the sacrifice He made.
What is happening with us?
For several weeks I have been writing articles about the different rocks that seem to be in our path as we walk along this narrow road. I am going to propose to you another one, and it’s a long one: We are setting platforms for people which allow us to believe that only a few people can hear the voice of God, and so we sit and listen to them instead of to God.
I strongly believe that God has selected many people to be on the front lines which allows them to make videos, write books, and be on television. I believe that God is using those people in mighty ways, and that there are some people who are responding with loving action as a result of the resources that these people are providing.
However, as time goes on, I have begun to wonder if those that look to them for information, see these leaders as the foundation instead of Jesus Christ? Have we completely forgotten that the foundation that many of these men and women of God are laying, and building upon is Jesus Christ?
Be honest for a minute. Look at how rapidly we are consuming various resources. It would appear that we are extremely hungry. The authors can’t seem to write quickly enough. Worship teams can’t seem to get out another album soon enough. Churches seem to be demanding new “discipleship books” every month. Yet, we have conversation after conversation as leadership teams as to what we can do to keep people from leaving the Church. Or, we stare at the statistics about the teens and twenty-somethings leaving the Church and we feel anguish because it appears to be a losing battle.
In our insecurities we have begun to say, “This guy is amazing, he is such a good teacher.” Then we think, “Man, I could never teach the Bible like that.” Or “this person has thousands of people in their Church, and look at what this person drives. I need to do what they do.” Or, “The Holy Spirit is clearly moving in his Church. Did you see all of those people getting healed? I need to do that.” So we read the next “How to” book, or go to a seminar. We try to replicate what we see, as we sit at their feet; yet we rarely take time to sit down before the feet of Jesus and say, “tell me what you want me to do and give me the strength, obedience, and faithfulness to do it. No matter what it is.”
We as Christians have become obese. We eat to eat, because we think we need to eat. Rather than going out and using the nourishment, we sit there, full, and stuff ourselves with more. What makes it worse is that because we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, convicting us, we look in the mirrors and realize that something is not right; yet we don’t do anything about it. For all the wonderful things that are being printed and produced, it does not seem to produce people who are ready to serve. Have you noticed that? It does not seem to produce people who are ready to leave it all behind for persecution and the desperate need for Jesus Christ. It does not seem to produce disciples. What it is doing is creating people who know Grace, Law, right from wrong, and formulas so the Holy Spirit will show up. But let’s be real: you can know everything, and still know nothing, because you aren’t doing anything.
I am imploring you to do something.
I am not telling you to stop reading the books. I am not telling you to stop watching the videos. I am asking you to ask yourself why you are even reading the book. I am asking you to ask yourself why does Jesus say that “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few?” I am asking you to evaluate the materials, and see if they are even biblical. Meaning, is Jesus Christ the unadulterated foundation and center of the book. If He is, and you are reading it to learn how to go, and make disciples because you are sitting directly at the feet of Jesus listening to His teachings; 4.29 billion won’t sound as crazy to you as when you first started reading this article.
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