I'm sick of seeking the Church.
Are you shocked at that? Afraid I've taken to backsliding? 🙂 Before you get too upset, allow me to explain.
I've noticed something lately that bothers me a lot. Here it is: whenever I have sat down to spend time alone with the Lord, it seems to be the Church that comes to mind, not the Lord. For example:
- When I've opened Scripture, I've immediately read it and then thought, “How can I work this into my next LifeGroup lesson?” or “How can we use this to become more effective in the intercessory prayer meeting I lead?”
- When I've begun to pray, my prayers haven't been focused on the Lord, or on me, or on my relationship with the Lord. Instead, they've been focused on praying for the Church.
This preoccupation with the Church has kind of crept up on me. I didn't notice it happening, and then suddenly a few days ago it became glaringly obvious.
Now, this blog post isn't meant to disparage the Church. All of you who have read my blog for any period of time, or know me personally, know that I LOVE the Church. I mean, I LOVE THE CHURCH. My call is to the Church and I serve my local church faithfully every single week. I LOVE the Church. No doubt, no question, 100% love.
But this problem with my suddenly seeking the Church is not a matter of loving the Church or not. This problem is about something else entirely. The real problem is this:
When did I stop seeking Jesus?
I remember when I used to sit down with my Bible and just worship Jesus. I remember when I used to open the Word and just stare at Him, learning from Him, listening to Him, imagining the dust swirling around His feet as He walked the Judean hillsides.
I remember when my prayers used to be just between me and Jesus, talking intimately and privately about things I could never verbalize to anyone else.
I remember when I used to pour out my heart to Him and beg Him to form godly character in me; to make me like Himself, no matter what the cost. To use me and help me to know Him better. To teach me His secrets.
And somewhere along the line, I seem to have stopped doing that.
Oh, not entirely, and not always. I couldn't have survived without seeking Jesus. Nevertheless, somewhere, somehow, the Church crept in and began the process of dethroning my Savior–of taking the time and attention and passion that should have been His alone.
Somewhere along the way, my prayers became about the Church.
Somewhere along the way, my study became too Church-centered and not enough Jesus-centered.
Somewhere along the way, doing church work began to take up too much of my time and closeting myself away with Jesus got too little of my time.
Somewhere, sometime, I began seeking the Church instead of seeking Jesus.
That must be why, when I was reading Revelation 2 recently, God spoke this to me:
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary” (Revelation 2:2-3).
… and I felt pretty good reading that. I was so thankful that my Papa had recognized those things, because I have been working awfully hard on His behalf, and being patient, and hating sin, and I had not become weary…
But then He continued:
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).
… and that truth socked me between the eyes. I did not feel good about that, because I was guilty.
When I read that, I realized that God was totally right. I had lost my first love.
So I've been asking God to help me get my first love back.
Over the last number of weeks, that's looked like:
- Focusing on Jesus Himself, and praying again for Him to give me my passion for Him back.
- Asking God once again to make me like Jesus and set me on fire for Him and Him alone.
- Getting up when He wakes me in the middle of the night and calls me to come spend time with Him. I may be bleary-eyed, but I am asking Him to help me respond to His call.
- Spending time just in worship, me and Him and my piano. Not worship for the sake of leading anything. Not worship for the sake of rehearsing music. Not worship for the sake of crossing “worship” off my Good Christian List. Just worship. Me and Him. Kissing toward His face.
I'm sick of seeking the Church. I want to seek Jesus.
I want to burn for Him again, not just for His Church. I want to know Him more, to love Him more, to know His love for me more. God never called me to seek His Church. He called me to seek Him, and He said that He will build His Church.
So I want Jesus.
The question I have for you today is: Have you been seeking the Church too?
Or have you been seeking Jesus?
Have you gotten so busy with church work that, somewhere along the way, your love for the Church has dethroned your Savior? Have you also have forgotten to seek Jesus?
If so, it's not too late to change that. If my predicament describes you too, would you join with me today and starting to just seek Jesus again? Purely, unashamedly, unhindered… Would you make Jesus the desire of your heart once more?
Will you stop seeking the Church and just seek Jesus?
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / freedigitalphotos.net