Have you ever come into church, shook a few hands, smiled at all the regulars, sang all the songs in worship, bowed your head at all the right times, sat in your chair to take in the message, scribbled down some notes, took communion, gave your offering, and shook the pastors hand as you walked out the door only to start your car and know you just faked every aspect of church?
Do you ever feel like you are going through the motions of your Christian faith hoping that at some point that tingle in the pit of your spirit will come back like when you first became a believer in Jesus?
Do you wish that you could unwrap your Faith and have it smell like a new car again and replace the torn, Doritos stained upholstery it seems to have?
If you say “no” you may want to check your spirit one more time because I think you may be fooling your self. For me, as I answered my own question my answer was a resounding “Yes!” and I’m the stinking pastor of a church!
I honestly can say that my heart isn’t on fire like I just got out of Church Camp each week and I feel…well…just blah sometimes. So what do you do with that?
What do you do when it seems like you are going through the motions in church, in your Faith, in your life?
When I get to this point, usually one of two things will happen inside me. First, I will get mad at myself for not trying hard enough, praying enough, reading enough, or doing enough in my Faith. So I’ll tuck my head down and do, do, do as much as I can. After no spiritual change and I find myself exhausted with spiritual cramping I go to option two…I Blame God.
Of course if I’m doing all these things and I’m not feeling anything different it has to be God that is absent right!? So I become frustrated and my spirit aches as pride and self-righteousness wrestle to claim the top spot in a never-ending game spiritual “King of the Mountain”. This is when I know I shut down the most and the emptiness seems greater.
The truth is that neither of these things is true. It isn’t a matter of a lack of doing and it isn’t a lack of God’s presence. In fact David digs to the core of the real issue in Psalm 32:3-5 when he says:
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
There it is again…my sin.
If I’m honest, most of my dry moments with God are because I’ve let my sin creep back in and it is distancing me from Him. That’s why all the doing and all the reading won’t do any good. If I’m not honest with who I am with God I have a fake relationship with Him. In a way, I’ve tried to sew the fig leaf back on my life like Adam and Even in a weak attempt to cover myself from God. I’ve become a faker, but only to myself.
David says the release of this spiritual pressure is found in confession. In telling your Dad where you screwed up…again. It is only then that our guilt is relieved and we are free to allow God to fill us with his love and forgiveness again. We can take the mask off and start seeing and living life as God intended us to.
So the next time we all find ourselves in that spiritual desert instead of going through the same old motions and getting the same old stale result I saw we start by being honest with our self and with God. Allow our soul to open up to God and relinquish the sin we think we are hiding so well so that He can then take that vacated space and fill us with Him.
It’s time to stop faking and get real.