Benched… disenfranchised… discouraged… ineffective… spiritually nullified – do you know the feeling? You probably know what I mean. If you do not, give thanks to the Lord above! However, for those of us who believe in and follow Jesus, this can sometimes be the reality that vexes our spiritual existence. How do you get in such a predicament? More importantly, how do you get out of this empty spiritual place?
First, let’s look at the ways we can be nullified. I am pretty sure that some of these situations will sound familiar to you and this is just a partial list.
- Someone in the church has let you down. OUCH, yep… let’s tackle this one first. That always seems to come up in such conversations. Maybe the hurt was caused by a church leader or Christian friend. Double OUCH!
- You tried to follow after a spiritual dream that you are sure was planted in your heart by God Almighty, only to discover the end result was wildly different from what you anticipated. Who got it wrong? Did you miss it? Was God yanking your chain?
- You are facing a crisis brought about by health issues or other life circumstances that seem to be out of your control. Your heart is in the right place, but your body just won’t cooperate.
- You feel a burning in your heart to “do something” but – from your pew – it looks like only the young, hip, clever guys and gals are “qualified” to serve the Lord in a significant way. Ok, before my professional preacher friends pick up stones to throw, I concede that this is certainly not the case in all instances. Yet, for Joe Average Church Guy and Gal, we have overtly or covertly propagated this image in many American churches… thus nullifying a huge group of folks who need to be encouraged to get in the fight for the sake of the Kingdom – not privately joked about with snarky humor by spiritual elitists.
- Possibly the devil – the enemy of us all – has used your past to beat you down spiritually. Satan has found that point of chronic sin, personal failure, or hidden hurt that has the most power over your spiritual enthusiasm. He knows just which buttons to push, which people to use, what memories to conjure up in attempts to keep you distraught and bewildered.
I must confess to you that I have experienced some of the things listed above, but I am not alone in that reality. There is no need to get into specifics, because we all have unique stories to tell. Yet, many of these stories have common elements embedded within them. Maybe our commonality will buy me the right – so to speak – to speak into your life.
So, let me attempt to give you a bit of hope and a place to turn for encouragement as you struggle to find significance in the Kingdom of God. Now, let’s look at that word “significance.” I fear this is the root of the issue for many believers. We often seek significance in the wrong things and the wrong people. We desire to be affirmed by people who are not always sincere with us. Typically, those people do not have enough knowledge about our circumstances to affirm us even if they wanted to. Sometimes we want to find significance in our deeds and actions. Deeds and actions should be a result of who we are in the Body of Christ, not an attempt to gain entrance into the Body. Think about it.
Alright, so where do we affirm our identity, our spiritual significance? Of course, the answer is the Bible – God’s amazing instruction book to us. I know this may sound too simple, but due to the things I listed above – among many others – we often overlook the obvious practical commentary on life. It is way too easy to be misled, side-tracked, deluded by the culture that we live in, both in and out of the church. Think about these verses: John 1:12-13[pullquote align=center]
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.[/pullquote]
Ok… clear your mind of all the junk, the dissenting thoughts placed there by well-meaning (but ill-informed) brothers, or even your own accepted position of low self-esteem. It may be hard for you to do, but think about this with an open mind / heart. This is the reality that you need to base your identity on… “if” you have truly believed in Jesus as your Savior, then you have the right to walk – head held high – as a child of God. It really is that simple. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, a supernatural thing happens. You are born again into God’s eternal family and… no matter what others say, or what the devil whispers in your fleshly ear, you are a child of God Almighty! Honestly, think about what that means. The One who made you and the universe you live in – all that is – is Abba Father… to you.
Let me challenge you, as I challenge myself, to never ever forget that. Whenever you feel the blues coming on or face that old memory that the devil knows will vex your soul, claim the truth found in two small verses in the book of John. It is your right… claim it.