We are nothing unless we grow, not in height, but in faith. Every year serves to show us our progress, so we can say to ourselves "this time last year…"
One hundred years ago people were still reading the same book (The Bible), going through the same problems and dealing with the same influences of drugs, sex, behaviour, relationships, health and finances.
Have we really progressed. If you take technology out of the equation, no we haven't.
Pastors and ministers are to equip the body of the church i.e. you and me. They are to explain to us how we are to live victorious lives and we are expected to follow orders!
Our preachers are to help us understand the Bible and to help us live according to Gods word. We in turn are expected to read and study the Bible on a daily basis and to listen out for God. He speaks to every one of us, we only have to listen.
As a result the following God's ways, we grow. We have an objective or a goal. God is watching and he has a plan for us. But do we care?
How come have we become so self-centred? How come we think we know it all? We have descriptions and justifications for every situation, but these are simply a disguise for the enemies at play. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
The world has chosen to shut down and shut out God. Evil pervades every corner of the world, but what do we do about it?
We think that more troops or bigger guns is the answer. Really? Has there ever solved anything.
We think that money is the answer. Throw cash at the problem and it will go away. But that never solved anything either!
As each year goes by, less and less people are exposed to the power of God because we choose to sanitise our faith. We want to compartmentalise it so it suits a description or justification that feels comfortable and we certainly won't accept the supernatural.
Christianity has become another word used by the 'world' for people who can't really cope. For the people who want to hang on to something, anything, because the world is such a nasty place that they don't want to live in reality and want a happy clappy lifestyle.
Christianity has become NOT about faith, love, study, commitment, endurance, patience, BUT simply a social group that can exist without making demands on its members.
Churches are now dictated to by their congregations (even if nothing is said, the leaders rely on their money!) and those in leadership play along ensuring that their itchy ears are satisfied (2 Timothy 4:3). And if they're not, they complain.
It appears that Christians don't seem to think that we're in any sort of battle. Satan has become non-existent. We are God and now anything goes. And woe betide any preacher who says otherwise.
With thousands of Christians being murdered every year, it is surprising how blinkered we have become. Yes we know it goes on but it's all part of the moving wallpaper we call television and media. We've become desensitised to death. And we can't say too much about Christianity is it might upset some radical Muslim or group.
Come on people, open your eyes. You are being seduced by an insidious and evil force that is changing our world. Every day something new happens and we seem powerless to change anything.
I come back to how we are being equipped by our Christian teachers and how our prominent Christians in our government and civic services behave, most of which have never read the Bible.
As we continue to preach lukewarm messages and have ceased with Sunday school teaching, we've created multiple generations of ineffective and weak Christians.
God created man to inhabit the earth and to take dominion over it. That has not changed, yet Christian man seems that we should get saved and then wait to die to then live in eternity. Oh what a waste. God wanted us here for a reason for goodness sake!
If someone held a gun to a family's head and you had a gun yourself and could stop them, what would you do?
Are we not expected to protect and to fight for the land that God has given us?
If we are not taught, refuse to study and object to carrying out God's will for our lives what do you think our children's lives will be like, are like?
Amazingly, the enemy that pervades our world and is the ruler of it is called Satan, yet the media as carefully crafted a strategy that renders anyone who mentions his name as a loon!
Yet, the fact that it is accepted that God exists, by default, so does Satan - And he is reposnsible for all the bad things that have ever happened on this earth.
Sadly, due to the lackadasical attitude of congregations, we were unaware of the fact the Jesus handed us the power and authority to deal with Satan, but we were too busy getting one over the pastor and stopped listening to him to be able to do anything - until now!!!
There is a price to pay for laziness and lukewarm Christianity. We can never say well I didn't know or that no one told me. Books, films and Internet all provide a staggering amount of content to know what's going on in our world and to what is expected of us by God.
Our pastors do have a responsibility to their flocks and if they consistently fail, they will be answerable to God not you or I. Equally, we have a personal responsibility to listen for God's instructions for our lives. It is not the job of the pastor to force you to do something.
Part of our growth is about learning and understanding about prayer and putting into action the directions given to us in the Bible. Personal, group and corporate prayer is essential and is a foundational aspect of the Christian faith.
Prayer must be consistent. A daily part of our lives. It must be purposeful and deliberate. It must also be said OUT LOUD, otherwise it is simply wishful thinking.
Prayer is always answered. So write it down and keep praying Journal said it can be used as a source of encouragement to others to read about answered prayer.
So when it comes to growing as a Christian, what constitutes growth?
The seasons may change, but it can seem like the film Groundhog Day with Bill Murray; nothing changes year after year, unless something begins to change in us.
We need to get God's word on the inside in order to experience change and growth.
Never forget, Satan wants us dead but God wants us for eternity. I believe we are in training for the next stage of our existence when we go to God in heaven for eternity.
As it says in scripture, well done good and faithful servant and we're answerable for everything we say and do. Save and covered by Grace I know, but we are still answerable for what we say.
So what could be a better objective for one's life, to living in faith and in the knowledge that God has got it covered and to follow and serve him, to help others by introducing them to Jesus and to live in the knowledge and expectation of a future in eternity.