Spiritual Muscles: Use Them or Lose Them
Spiritual Muscles: Use Them or Lose Them
Atrophy refers to wasting away and deterioration, owing to lack of use and defective nutrition. Use it or lost it! Without proper attention, exercise and nutrition, atrophy is unavoidable. Everything eventually and ultimately breaks down to nothingness.
The Church's Spiritual Atrophy
I often talk with people who have been Christians and faithful church attenders for decades who tell me they don't know enough to share their faith. How is this possible? They've listened to at least three hundred sermons a year for ten years. That's three thousand sermons worth of information they've consumed and can't repeat. You know what I call that! If you don't use the truth of God's Word, you lost it. It's spiritual atrophy! That's the real reason sharing your faith is such a critical part of your life. You immediately start using what you're learning!
Most Christians can't even tell you what their pastor preached on the previous Sunday unless they've used it to move people closer to Jesus throughout the week. You have to use it, if you want to keep it. Pastors, your sermons will have far greater impact on your people when you challenge them to use your sermons to share their faith. And that's how you impact your community. It's a win/win proposition.
Failing to grow spiritually, births lukewarm believers who are hearers only of that Word. James 1:22-25 (NKJV) warns us of the consequences: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
Then there's Revelation 3:16, which graphically describes God's reaction to lukewarm believers to the point of spewing the out of His mouth. It appears that nothing turns God's stomach like those who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Tim. 3:5, KJV). These are Christians who have allowed spiritual atrophy to destroy their faith and their walk with the Lord.
Temptation to Forget
But you can't Blame the entirety of spiritual atrophy on Satan. Much, if not most of it, is self-induced. Whether it's activities pulling you away from church or distractions pulling you away from God, you can only tread water for so long before you start to sink. And this is especially true now with the world in complete turmoil and Christians under full attack. Half-hearted, middle-of-the-road Christianity will not serve you well in the last days.
If you're not in a church where the Word is proclaimed and Spirit is moving, your chance of avoiding atrophy in your life is almost zero. The fellowship of believers joining together in corporate worship, with scriptural truths being proclaimed, has never been more important. We're under attack and there's nowhere else to run. Hebrews 10:25 warns us: "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near" (NLT). God knew two thousand years ago what we would be going through today and what it's going to take for us to survive spiritually.
One of the most troubling and perplexing issues of your day is the apostasy that's dividing our churches, denominations, Christian universities, seminaries, and worst of all, our families. Even those who are not persuaded by false doctrines are having the wind taken out of their sails but the attack from within on biblical truths, which is a win for Satan. It's incredible! Christians are now afraid of sharing their faith for fear of offending other "Christians."
I'm at a loss to understand how people can depart from the truth of God's Word into doctrines that come from demons. First Timothy 4:1 describes it perfectly: "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (NASB). This is a major prophecy coming to pass and proving that we're in the last days. Spiritual atrophy is very real!
Then there are those who can't blame anyone but themselves for their spiritual decline. Most Christians followed the crowd into the spiritual purgatory of fear, avoiding the assembly of the saints, watching church services online, and now find themselves basically dead in the water. Complacency is the biggest problem in the church today and the bottom-line reason America is falling apart at its seams. It's so easy to point fingers and express anger toward those who are causing the problems today. But, for the most part they're not bad people. They're lost people who are not going to church and will never know there's a God who loves them unless we (Christians) tell them. But we're not telling them!
There is no other way by which you can experience the intimacy with God that comes from His speaking through you and changing the life of the person in front of you. There's a oneness with God in those moments that's completely indescribable. That's when you'll know and believe and understand that He is God -and you'll never again have spiritual atrophy.
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