Experience vs. Commitment
This is the message we heard at Resurrection in Gatlinburg Tennessee this year (Experience vs. Commitment). Justin Lookadoo had some challenging and motivating messages for the three day weekend. He talked about our prayer life, about how we need to use our imagination to be able to place ourselves in a closer connection to God. For instance one evening as we were all gathered in the hotel and having a time of conversation about the day, as we prayed I could see Jesus there in the midst of us. Did I see him literally, No but it was more real than that. Jesus is always with us, we just tend to lose sight of that because we have lost that sense of excitement and imagination.
Imagination is the thing that moves are made from, imagination is the thing that careers are made from, and imagination is the thing that causes us to see the things that are not as though they were. When God says there is healing for those who ask then we need to be able to imagine that. When God says that He wants our marriages to not only work but to thrive, then we need to be able to imagine that. When God says he wants the world to be saved and in relationship with him then we need to be able to imagine that.
We have accounts in the Bible where God spoke through dreams and visions or imagination and He is still speaking in those same ways today. What is it in your life that is not working right now? What it is that you is just not right and you want it to be better. Start to imagine what that situation would look like if Jesus were to intervene. Now while you have that picture in your mind start to ask God to make that happen. God really does want us to live victorious lives.
Experience vs. Commitment: Justin spoke about the fact that many people have an experience with God but not that many really make a commitment to God. Lots of people come to a service like Resurrection or one of our church services and they feel the warmth of the fire of God but they don’t stay around and stay warm. You see when a person stays long enough by the fire to get warm they begin to go and warm others with that same fire but in order for that to happen a person has to stay long enough to get warm down deep. It has to get past the outer garments, through the skin and into the bones. When it gets into your bones then you are really warm, you have made a commitment that will stand the test of time, you have made a commitment that will draw others to the flame, you have made a commitment and that is different from having an experience.
Listen to Jeremiah 20:9
But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
That is commitment. Jeremiah said when I want to keep my mouth closed and not speak of God it is like a fire shut up in my bones. How about you? Where are you in this journey? Are you coming in from the clod just long enough to be warmed and then going back out into the cold? Or are you so hot from the fire in your bones that everyone around you knows that you love God?
God says in revelation that he will vomit out of his mouth those who are lukewarm. God wishes that we all would be on fire but he said it himself, it would be better if you are just coming in to get warm and then go right back out into the cold, you make him sick.