How does spiritual denial affect our preparation for Christ’s return?
The apostles Peter and Paul initially felt that Christ would return in their lifetime. Much later, realizing he would die before Christ returned, Peter worried that God’s people would grow slack and forget the intensity needed to endure.
Have we lost our spiritual intensity?
We may know what is right, but do we act on it? Or do we justify our lack of energy for God’s way of life?
Once, while browsing a gift shop, I found a miniature baseball bat that had printed on it: “Attitude Adjuster!” It was a laugh, but more importantly, it got me thinking about my attitude and a recent work trial. I struggled with my outlook about a co-worker. I hoped I gave no outward evidence of animosity, but inside I was thinking quite differently. Was Iin denial about how my attitude was prolonging the trial?
The apostle Paul addressed this internal dynamic: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice,” Romans 7:14-19.
Could it be that God will allow us to stay in a trial until we learn more about ourselves and how to do right before Him?
Christ will return unexpectedly. The question is, are we ready for it? Or are we light-footed in our quest to become Christ-like? Do we have need of nothing in this day and age? Are we, like the Laodiceans, in spiritual denial? (Revelation 3:14-22)
We can always learn more about God and about ourselves, but we should have a fundamental knowledge of what is right before our Creator. If not, we need to recalibrate.
Start by activating the four spiritual tools. They aren’t new, but to neglect them is fundamentally wrong. Pray, multiple times a day. Daniel prayed morning, noon, and night. If we feel somewhat disconnected from God it is usually following a period of time without daily prayer.
Next, reactivate your regular Bible study daily. Then include fasting, more often than only on the Day of Atonement. It rapidly reconnects us to God.
Meditate constantly on God’s word and how it applies. During trials, if we put these tools to use we can pull forward the knowledge of God’s way and apply it.
Secondly, be spiritually minded (Romans 8:6-11). Draw on the positive examples that you see in the Bible. They messed up but then recovered, do likewise!
Finally, live today urgently, as if it were your last. Paul did. He could see his end-time coming and was confident that he had done everything he could to one day wear a crown. Do we have that confidence?
Pray for God’s help personally and for each other. The times are tough, and they grow short. Let’s get out of denial and increase our spiritual intensity!
By Ken Parks