As I take a look around me, the world I live in, the head I think with, the heart I feel with, the church I pastor and the people in my life, it is becoming more and more clear to me what the problem is. Yes, there is a problem. There’s a whole slew of problems, actually. I’ll just pick the one which regularly pounds in my heart and shine a little spotlight on it today. Here it is: it is not that Christians are dissatisfied and unhappy, it is that we are far too easily satisfied and take our happiness in extremely low doses. I’m going to give you one verse which should compel each follower of Christ to live much of our lives convinced that something more grand is available to us every single moment of our lives. This is the verse that Christians don’t really believe:
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” – Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)
I promise you that, as a whole, we don’t truly believe this verse is true. Sure, we are certainly too pious to say it’s a lie but we prove we don’t believe it because we don’t live in the light of it. There are a few among us that would rip into me with protest right now and defy me to say such a thing but those are the rare ones who have caught a glimpse of God’s greatness and consequently lost their appetites for low living. But they are few. They are rare. They are a vanishing breed. Let’s do a little diagnostic to see if we really believe that God is able to accomplish that which is exceedingly, abundantly above all that we might ask or think.
- How much time do you spend thinking of how greatly God desires to lavish you with His prescribed goodness? How much effort do you put into thinking about what that might look like in your life?
- Is there an inner compulsion that drives you daily to believe that things might become better than they currently are? Does this move you to ask God to fulfill His desire to blow your mind with His excessive goodness? Has there been a time recently when you thought, “Wait a minute – why is my life not bursting with God’s glorious goodness?”
- Do you permit yourself to go confidently before Him and ask Him to help you reconcile Ephesians 3:20 with your current state of affairs…or have you been led to believe that you should not expect much from your God?
- What do you expect of yourself as a follower of Christ? What do you expect of other Christians? Do you naturally have a low-bar expectation or a high-bar expectation? I’m not asking what you perceive as the current state of affairs among Christians (you included), I’m asking what you expect from them.
You see, we don’t have high expectations. We are proficient at getting by. We are so focused on surviving that we really don’t believe in the concept of thriving. We are Bilbo Baggins who sees nothing beyond the Shire and is reluctant to go forward with Gandolf on the great adventure. I believe the problem among us is that we are ordained of God to live as expectant pioneers when what we have actually become is too-soon-satisfied settlers.
Spend some time today to consider if you might have quietly given up on the abundant life that Jesus Christ said that He came to impart to you. See if you have given up on the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing strongly in your human spirit. See if you are viewing this polychromatic life in grayscale because you’ve acclimated yourself to the mundane, the average and the dusty. Don’t feel condemned if you conclude that this asp has fanged you too. The goal today is not guilt but, rather, enlightenment. What I’m saying is that our failure to expect God to be great is now epidemic and He invites you to come out of the fog and hear Him. He’s extremely interested in the vibrancy of your journey because your journey has been granted to you for His glory. Get this: true glory cannot ever be dulled. Dimness and dullness is the antithesis of glory and the idea that we can ever harmonize our hearts to the tune of “This Is As Good As It Gets” must be rejected.
The abundant life which Christ came to afford us…He who is able to to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the POWER AT WORK within us…Call unto Me and I will show you great and mighty things which you have never known…these are just three of God’s calls upon our lives.
Do you believe?