To some readers, the statement I’m about to make will sound bold. To others it will sound obvious. Either way, it’s a commentary on the church I’d rather not have to make. That is, most Christians are powerless.
Consider what “normal” Christianity looks like today in the typical believer. This person is a bit self-seeking, a little materialistic, somewhat consumerist. Most of his daily choices are about improving his life. That includes his spiritual pursuits, from his church groups to the podcasts he downloads to the seminars he attends.
The main question on the lips of multitudes worldwide is, “What is going on? There is fear and panic everywhere. Economies are being shaken all over the globe. What will our future look like?”
As followers of Jesus, we know the only reliable answers are in God’s Word. The world’s experts — economists, government leaders, academics — all admit they are confused. Nobody can tell us why bubbles are bursting or how we went from a booming economy to sudden crashes.
I have walked with the Lord for over sixty years. After all this time, I am convinced it is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart. You may say, “Nobody’s walk is perfect. The Bible makes clear we’re all sinners.” But Scripture does tell us it is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart. Let me take you into what this means.
We long to see our churches transformed, filled with power and the glory of God. The book of Acts shows us the way.
In Acts 3, Peter and John had just been part of a historic spiritual awakening at Pentecost. Jesus’ followers had gathered in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came and filled everyone in the place. As a crowd gathered outside, Peter was emboldened by the Spirit to preach — and three thousand people came to Christ in a single hour.
Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Christ shared these words with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. It was meant to give them comfort and reassurance in what would be the darkest hour of their faith. Since that time Christians down through the ages have drawn comfort from Jesus’ words here, to sustain them through their most difficult trials.
Do you sense God is about to unleash something tremendous in your life? Has he spoken to your heart, “I have prepared something special for you. You’re about to enter a walk with me you’ve never known before”? Maybe your life has already been greatly blessed by God. Now the Holy Spirit is saying his longstanding promise is about to come into full fruition—and that it will amaze you.
If this describes your life right now, I can tell you with the authority of Scripture: Get ready to examine your heart.
The question mark in my title is intentional. As Christians we know that Jesus won the victory for us at Calvary. He defeated death, Satan and the power of sin. The question remaining for believers is, “Now what? I know Jesus won my victory on the cross. But what about my present conflict? Where is his victory for the battle raging in my life right now?”
In Psalm 38 we find David at his wits’ end. He was downcast and discouraged, and his struggle had drained him of all strength. David cried, “I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long…I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart… My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me” (Psalm 38:6, 8, 10).
Let me ask you a simple question: Have you been set free? You probably think, “Of course! I’ve been washed, redeemed, made holy by Jesus, and I live for him. That’s every believer’s testimony.”
Now here’s a follow-up question: Does your everyday life reflect the glorious freedom you’ve just described? Would your friends, your spouse, your children say you’ve been set free? Or are you like multitudes of Christians who feel they’re on a spiritual seesaw? Is your walk with Christ continually up and down, seemingly spiritual one moment and carnal the next?