Fighting My Spiritual Muscle Memory

The Rituals.  The Motions.  Knowing the right things to say at the right times.  Avoiding the obvious sins.  Oh, the lure of pharseeism in our times.  All too often I fall prey, living a life without the vitality and joy that I was created to live.  I lose my life one moment at a time, one empty action followed by another, slowly dying while appearing fine through my spiritual muscle memory.

Muscle memory is how our body learns to do complex things.  For instance, we don't have to worry about balancing; our body just remembers how.  It's how a pitcher can go through all the complex motions of pitching without much mental effort.  His body has learned exactly how to do the motions without even thinking about them.  Muscle memory is good, but our spiritual muscle memory can put us on spiritual cruise control while we talk on a cell phone and miss everything God has in store for us.
As I sit and prepare for another Sunday morning gathering, I pray that I will experience all that God wants me to, that I will seek him with every ounce of my being, that others will come along side me and be changed with me, and that we will live together in such a way that the light of His kingdom will break through.  The last few weeks, I have had a burning desire eating me up and driving me closer to the Lord.  It's telling me that we have yet to really be the people God wants us to be, that He has so much more in store for us if we would just stop relying on rituals and programs and start relying totally on Him.  We need to become uncomfortable in order to become who God wants us to be. 

Birthdays are a reminder that we are getting older, that time is running out on our flicker of life here on earth.  When I was diagnosed with melanoma over two years ago now, there was one burden laid on my heart.  I would not be completely honest if I said that I didn't worry about being there for my family, but God convicted me, through many tough nights, that He would take care of them if the worse came to pass.  When death knocks on your door, you don't want to play another video game, watch another movie, or worry about another entertainment fix that we seem so obsessed about when we are doing well.  The important things become more than lip service.  They are what we live for in tough times.  The burden on my heart heart that I wanted to see more than anything in the world before I died was a church in Antwerp that would totally impact my hometown for Jesus.  One that would have real, authentic relationships with one another, that would share a common passion to love Jesus, and who would live their lives seeking for ways to love the people around them so that they might see God.  I’m not putting down any of the churches in Antwerp, I just think we can all be so much more than we currently are.  I want a church that is more than just empty motions; one that is about the transforming power of God working on us and through us.   

At that time, I was working on my master's in history.  It was not in my plans to go back into the full-time paid ministry, but the path I went down led me to a full-time ministry at a church (Riverside Christian Church) in Antwerp.  I’m grateful for the joys in the last year, my first here as the minister.  I am saddened by the stumbles.  I look forward to the future, the friendships strengthened and new ones built, becoming more aware of the continual presence of God in my life, and having my life and the lives around me changed for God’s purpose.  Our biggest enemy is not the devil because Jesus brought victory over him.  Our biggest enemy is ourselves and our spiritual muscle memory.

Wake up, sleeper.
The son has risen.
Wake up, sleeper.
The light is here.   

Thank you for reading my blog and being part of my life in that way.  It has been over six years and over 1000 posts now.  Your visits (I see them through my counter) encourage me to keep writing.  May we be open to God and allow Him to change us into who He wants us to be in the coming years.  I know He has more in store for us if we allow Him to work. 

If you live in the Antwerp area and are looking for a church family, I invite you to come and change with us at Riverside Christian Church.