Stepping It Up
“Many of the fears of Christians would be driven away if they knew more. Ignorance is not bliss in Christianity, but misery; and knowledge, sanctified and attended by the presence of the Holy Spirit, is as wings by which we may rise out of the mists and darkness into the light of full assurance.” - CH Spurgeon
As the New Year begins, with Christmas being “over”, many of us find ourselves with the winter blues. Although I have always loved winter, the lack of daylight affects me more and more every year. Perhaps I suffer from SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder! Here at DCPC we call this period the “season of the in between.” The term “in between” means we have celebrated Christmas and are awaiting the Risen Lord of Easter in a time of wintery bleakness. The winter months challenge all of us with frigid temperatures, snow and darkness. But it also presents us with an opportunity. January presents us with a chance to reflect, pray and sharpen our spiritual life. It is an opportunity to look ahead with anticipation, wonder and trust in God.
Reading a devotional, I was struck by the author’s warning against complacency. We all appreciate and love complacency. It is the comfort of knowing who, what and where we are. We as humans seek out things that are safe and familiar. Complacency, it is said, comes not in lean times but in times of plenty, when blessings are in abundance. We grow content and stagnant while we suffer from internal atrophy. In the busyness of life, with conflicting distractions, we often get lost on our spiritual walks. The season of the in-between invites us to step it up and reflect on the year to come.
What is the difference between complacency and assurance? The difference is the origin; one is human centered, the other is God centered. Assurance is the comfort and knowledge of what God has done for us, and will do for us, in the coming year as promised through Jesus Christ.
This month’s quote came from a very famous 19th century English preacher, Charles Spurgeon. His main point was the necessity of every believer to step it up! And almost 150 years later, we still need to be reminded. As we begin this New Year, are you prepared to step it up in terms of your relationship with Christ, or are you satisfied where you are? Should we ever be satisfied? Do we ever have enough of a relationship with Christ? As Spurgeon noted, ignorance is not bliss in Christianity; it is dangerous to our souls. Anxiety, fear and apprehension may rule our lives because we lack a spiritual bedrock. We live in anxious, uncertain times. As we have discussed, fear is prevalent everywhere, particularly among the young. Why is this? Have we chosen to accept spiritual mediocrity? The challenges we face as a nation, as a church, and as a community are not new; every generation has had challenges. The church has had the same struggles throughout history. But the church has excelled in those tough periods when we have turned and walked with God. This is what we must do now!
I want to challenge one and all to step it up. What do I mean? It is time to reexamine your level of Christian spirituality. Many challenges lie ahead for us this year. This is inevitable. But the real question is this: are you prepared; are we prepared? Are you prepared to devote more quality time to be with God in prayer, study and worship? Are you seeking answers to life’s questions through God’s guidance? Are you feeling disconnected? Then now is the time to reconnect with God. If you are feeling disconnected, you need not feel embarrassed. This can happen to any one of us! To remedy this, I challenge you to step it up. Step out in faith, trusting God to make a path. How? Come to Sunday School, where there will be a challenging series on the love of God and our response to God’s offer of grace through Christ. There will be more sermons that challenge all of us, and hopefully help us “make the rubber hit the road.” Do you have a question or topic that should be sermon subject? Bring me your questions - we can learn together!
We have been a blessing to many in the community. But are we prepared to do more? Our spirituality, prayer life and worship matters, and will impact the direction of this church. Pray, petition and expect the Holy Spirit to give us an outpouring of blessings.
But we must take the first step. Are you ready?
Yours in Christ,