19 Jul Beware Of A Disconnected Faith
Let us talk about a very subtle, yet sticky issue that many believers will experience in their lives— that is a Disconnected Faith. Disconnected Faith does not seem problematic by sight or to others. We may still go to church, pray at times, read some Word or be with our brethren. Yet in our hearts, our faith living is getting more abstract and we will just be “going with the flow” of a Christian’s routine.
It is like when we attend Sunday Service, but very quickly we get absorbed into our hectic work life, or start to feel that the reality of our lives are more practical than God’s word. This feeling can be even more intense now that we have stopped church for awhile and we are gathering back again. We may be used to a life without church, physical interaction, and may even start to think “Oh, life was more relaxing when we did not have to attend church on weekends.” The feeling of inconvenience, laze and inertia to get back to church living may be growing in us. And I am not going to lying, I have struggled with this myself. However, our spiritual conscience will nudge us, just as it is, through this message.
Brothers and sisters, we must confirm today that this is actually the elusive and cunning work of Satan. Satan does not directly tell you to leave church or stop listening to sermons. You can still do all the rightful things that believers do, but within you, you can’t seem to feel God’s presence and footing in your life. You cannot experience the living God practically everyday. And this is also what the bible often warns us about. When not dealt with, a disconnected faith will start to fix its form in our hearts. God’s word will start to feel un-relatable, and everything we do will become a task. Eventually, we will lose the heart to pray, to come to church and things of the world will seem more important. What we may fail to see is that in these circumstances, we are already disconnecting ourselves from the matters of the spirit— what truly matters. The fact is, God’s presence has always been there, but when we lose sight of Him, we will be rendered helpless without the strength of the spirit.
The sins of men causes us to be blinded from God.
Let us go to the Word over here, to the book of Acts.
In Acts 1:3 it says about Jesus, “After his (Jesus’) suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
Acts 1:6 “Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Now in these few verses, we can see a very realistic picture, that is the state of human nature. The nature that causes us to easily forget God’s word and be blinded from the Lord working in our spirits. This can be seen because Jesus took a long period of 40 days to explain the matters of the Heavenly Kingdom, yet when the disciples finally met Him, their concerns were on the earthly matters, the restoration of Israel.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”
Then in the following verses, we see that Lord Jesus brings them back to the matters of heaven by saying in verse 8 that “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” This is a historical moment where God made this statement and it is still being fulfilled to this day! This line is a reminder of the purpose of our entire history and how everything will end. This is also a conviction that stays in the hearts of the disciples, being a foundation that guides them in everything they do.
And today, this line should also be the basis of our values, perspective and direction in life. It is through this line that we get the right guidance from the spirit to live each day. After Jesus has made this statement, He rose up to the heavens. Yet, after Jesus has risen, the disciples continue to focus on the God that can be seen. They keep looking up at the skies. But in fact, God has never left them. He merely cannot be seen by our eyes, but He comes to us through the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit that lives within our hearts. So before we confirm in our hearts how un-relatable and abstract our faith is, we must get this truth in us, that God is working everyday with us, through our Holy Spirit, but we might have been silencing its voice by the drowning noise of the world and putting it off for awhile now.
How to keep a disconnected faith at bay?
Now, the disciples’ blindspots then could very well be our blindspots today as well, because as we have talked about earlier, our nature is easily spiritually forgetful and tend to waver within. So how do we practically avoid getting into a disconnected faith? Well, the Lord uses His word to remind us again that the Holy Spirit is here to help us.
1) Gather with a blessed fellowship
Firstly, we must see the value of gathering every Sabbath day. This is not a duty as a believer, but a need. If we do not gather with God’s children, how can we stay connected in faith? If we do not gather, how can we stand against the influence of the world and its culture? We need to gather, to affirm God’s presence in each other’s lives, to be reminded and to intercede against the daily attacks of Satan. Other than this, we may also gather with a cell group, a God-loving brethren or mentor to share prayer topics or resolves doubts and other issues. Do not sweep it under the carpet or leave the unbelief to accumulate.
2) Pray as we gather
And as we gather, let it be a meaningful one. These days, there are many believers who gather for the sake of gathering, as a task to be done. Their hearts do not have the sense of anticipation for God’s works or revelation. Therefore, when God’s children gather, we must all the more pray and restore the right heart that is not distracted by the world and is alert to our spiritual states.
3) Take in God’s word, then test and approve it.
Also, we need to truly confirm God’s word, test and approve His perfect will and be guided by the the truth. So we have to ask ourselves, are we doing all these in our faith living? Or are we merely living each day without gripping onto the Lord and the word? Through our fellowship, discover what God is telling you, giving you new perspective and strength to lead the rest of your week.
4) See that everything is linked to the advancement of the gospel
After our blessed fellowship and as we return to our fields, we will meet with many things that contradict with the Word or challenge our faith. It could be the busy chores of housework, stress from your job or studies, tension in relationships and many other issues. In times like these, we have to be wary. It is easy to disconnect the promises of God during tough times. God has already promised us: He will use our lives to spread His word to the ends of the world. Therefore, every thing that happens in our lives are linked to fulfilling this mission of advancing God’s gospel. Blessed are those who seeks and finds the link of God’s purpose in our struggles.
5) Seek out the peace and wisdom through the Holy Spirit to handle our relationships
With this foundation in mind, we have to pray and see how the Holy Spirit is guiding us in our thoughts and emotions to handle matters. As it is said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The Holy Spirit within us will act as a compass to help us and allow us to become witnesses for God through our experiences. Perhaps, it may be trying in the beginning, but as we continue seeking and build up a habit of relying first on the Holy Spirit, instead of our quick emotions and wittiness, we will not be an easy prey of Satan. And one day, you will realise that it is not as difficult to understand God’s intention and be Holy Spirit-filled.
May God’s word give you new inspirations and strength to stay connected in your faith living today.