Through the years, as I have pastored churches, and traveled around the world in ministry, I've noticed something about the church that I'd like to share with you, and challenge your heart with.
No matter where a church is located globally, I've noticed there are two distinct groups of people in every church. Those who pray for their pastors/ church/ world and those who typically (only) pray for more of God's blessings upon their own lives.
The Bible makes it clear: "Without vision, people perish." Sadly, this truth is farther reaching than just our individual lives. It's impact will be felt in devastating ways upon the children of those who are spiritually blind, upon their marriage, their extended family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even the harvest field. For people who "have eyes to see but see not" will never reach others for Christ, will never pray for their church, or lift a finger to make a difference in the lives of the desperately needy, because they cannot see beyond their own desires.
My heart breaks for such people, because these people always have potential, but seldom is their potential realized. If someone ever invented a spiritual thermometer, you would see that ME-centric people are the ones who trend south of lukewarm. And that's a shame, because God's desire is to fill us up with Holy Fire, and set our souls ablaze for Him! Make a note, before we move on, there is nothing good about lukewarm - not for you, for your family, the church, or a perishing world.
Though God, pastors, and godly friends and family often invest endless hours encouraging, exhorting and building up ME-Centric people, more often than not, they just cannot seem to put others first, seldom if ever pray for the lost, never share with the needy, or care for the hurting, no matter how many times God challenges them to do it. The reason they never pray for others is simple: they only see their own wants, lusts and desires. While the world perishes, they see only more toys and joys for themselves, and carelessly turn a deaf ear to the cries of the perishing. How it must break the heart of God.
Degrees of separation: In every aspect of life, the two groups are entirely different. These overwhelming differences start with the way they look at life itself (vision). While the ME-centric group only sees their own perceived lack, their endless wants, their hopes for more of every imaginable 'blessing' - and typically possess a life-dominating attitude of entitlement for self-gain, the God-focused group sees the world through their Father's eyes, and as you might have already guessed, their actions, attitude and outcome are predictably different.
God-focused people give God the preeminence in all things. Their prayers are biblically-based, not human-driven. They can be heard crying out, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done!" Having "the eyes of their understanding enlightened," they not only comprehend the fact that the world is dying all around them, but their hearts long for God to use them to touch lives and save souls daily. And where their family is concerned - they see their children as God's greatest harvest field, not their buddies. This knowledge compels them to live holy, exemplary lives so their children will know the reality of Christ for themselves, and desire Him above all!
In the very first Psalm, David declared this truth to us: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
In this Psalm, you gain an understanding of the fact that two groups of people have always existed. The God-focused vs. the ME-centric. What I hope you will take away from this, is not condemnation - I am not trying to be critical - rather, I am trying to blow a trumpet; a wake-up call for the slumbering saints among us, who desperately need God to bring immediate change to their hearts, open their eyes, and fill them with His love for others - to such an extent, that He will successfully reshape their lives, and in so doing, transform our world.
The Good News: God has the power to change, if you have the will to let Him do it in you. The fact is, none of God's children have arrived. But some are at least on their way. If your life is dominated by YOU, rather than HIM and THEM - then I pray that you will let God rise up within you, and that you will let Him fight against the status quo in your life. He wants to come make all things new in you. Will you let Him?
Today can be the beginning of a whole new, joy-filled, and amazingly fulfilling life, if you simply bow your knee, surrender your will, and give God first place in your life. Where He leads you will be awesome journey of grace and goodness.
In the end, the choice is yours - will you stay in the same old rut, and suffer the unthinkable consequences of your actions? Or will you turn to God with everything that is within you, and surrender every part of yourself to Him, so He can start having His way in your life - and from today forward, to flow through your life - to help transform you, your church, and a world that is desperately waiting?