Weekly Devotional 9-13-11 Why, such a lack of Spiritual Interest?
Where is God in the thinking of many of the world today? An interesting question for sure. A few weeks ago (8-27-11), I joined others of our church (Grace Baptist Church of Dalton, Pa.) in conducting a survey within the surrounding community. We asked five basic questions:
Do you have any kind of spiritual beliefs?
To you, who is Jesus?
Do you believe in a literal heaven and/or hell?
Where do you think you will go when you die?
If the Bible said something other than what you believe, do you think it important and would you want to know?
Of those who responded, at least those our team talked with, few showed little interest in wanting to know what the Bible has to say about these matters. The reason for this lack of interest seemed to be that they didnít truly believe in a heaven or hell, and even if there were such places they would go to heaven. Surely a loving God would be forgiving and not commit them to an eternity of pain and suffering. Not believing in, or not fearing hell, might have been the reason for their lack of interest. Not sure!
What about those that claimed to be Christian (Catholic or Protestant)? Why did they seemingly have a lack of interest in spiritual matters? Thinking about this, I had to conclude that there are three things that want to capture and hold a Christianís interest: his flesh, the world, and Satan. His flesh (his old nature) wants the satisfaction of its desires. The world wants him to join in with its pursuits, and Satan wants to hinder if not destroy his relationship with God. We shouldnít be surprised then that some (most) we visited seemingly had little or no interest in spiritual matters.
Thinking further about these things I concluded that many, who answered the door claiming and believing they were Christian, were not. If they were truly Christian they would have had more interest in the questions we proffered. This should remind us of Jesusí admonishment to the church of Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7). He said of that congregation that they had lost their first love.
It is not natural for humans to put God first in their lives. Self has taken over that position. In actuality the non-Christian is dead toward God. Spiritual death was the tragedy of Adamís sin and is the tragedy of all that have succeeded him. There is no desire of knowing God, or of communicating with Him. Even the born again Christian has tendencies of putting self-first.
The allurements of the old nature, the world and Satan, are still strong in him (us) and the struggle continues. When those things prevail, an interest in
Spiritual things diminish. When God the Spirit prevails, those allurements diminish. This is an ongoing battle, a battle that cannot be won by the non-Christian, and is often lost by the Christian. To be spiritually interested in the things of God, the Christian must put on the new man and put off the old man (Ephesians 4:17-32). The old manís interest in spiritual things is diminished when he succumbs to the allurements of the flesh, the world and/or Satan. Only when he walks in the new man can a Christian have interest in spiritual things. To succeed in this he is to put on the whole armor of God. Christians, ďdo not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18praying always with all prayer and supplication in the SpiritĒ (Ephesians 6:12-18a).
The armor is there, it is available, but Christians (we) must put it on if we are to remain vibrantly interested in spiritual things. A fall is not far away and sometimes the hole can be very deep.