God DOES have a plan to prosper us – but it might take 70 years! So what do we do in the meantime?
Emily wrote about “Overspiritualising passions“. IMO in the pentecostal church we’re addicted to emotion, we believe we should be UP as much as possible. It’s just not realistic, have you read the bible? David? Jeremiah? Jesus? How many of them were “up” all the time?
If we’re feeling up, then we think that is God being good to us and then when we come off the “emotional high” then we feel flat and low and then we wonder where God is?! I spoke to a friend last year who attends a Lutherna church. She explained why she is not a pentecostal. “Because they are always up and down and up and down”. She was exactly right. I’ve struggled with this for so long. I’ve wondered how to avoid it. Songs like the (awesome) Jeremy Camp “I want more of you Jesus” – (an awesome song from an incredible man) – but while his heart is good, the song lifts me up and then drops me back down when it’s over.
The Lutheran church doesn’t have this, because they don’t live for the highs and they don’t hype themselves up. In my experience it’s best to not go through too many emotional highs in the first place, just to live a life of joy – which is not the same thing.
The kind of lifestyle I have learned to lead is one where I simply get on with my life. I garden. I fix things in my home. I learn and grow. And to take up any spare time, I love the friends and people around me.
IMO the essential pentecostal problem is this: the bible commends and commands obedience to God, so we eagerly seek His will so we can be obedient. It’s good, but it’s not realistic. We fail to find ongoing direction from God because the bible shows that even friends of God (Abraham and Moses) went for years without hearing from God.
But we do have a command. It’s the only command that Jesus explicitly gave us: to love God and love one another. So you KNOW what His command is. Love your family, love your friends, love your neighbours and love the unlovely, the sad, the poor, the needy, the opppressed.
It’s the very same command that was given in the OT too! Frequently! In fact that’s what the Lutheran church (500 million people can’t be wrong!?) have discovered… that loving others is the key.
If after doing this (keeping His command to love) we still feel empty and flat, then we simply have a need of our own that isn’t being met. It’s not rocket science. We may feel empty or alone or something like that. Perhaps our self-identity is damaged from past abuses. The solution to this varies from person to person. A good place to start is to acknowledge our need. Something like this: “Hello, my name is Mark and I’m an alcoholic” or it might be “Hello I’m Mark and I’m lonely”. Don’t spiritualize it. You don’t need “more God” or anything else. What you need is… whatever you need.
When you can admit to the absolutely normal and natural thing you need… then ask God for it. I finally realised I didn’t need “more God” I needed more friends. I asked for them. Today I have at least three male friends who I reckon would go to the stake for me. I would do the same for them. God is good… but we need to ask and keep on asking, knock and keep on knocking.
Christianity is so practical eh?