Much of Christianity today can be summed up as being a “spectator” faith. We stand on the sidelines, and watch others get involved. We have the “minister” who does the “ministry” and we gather and “watch” the work of God get done. Very few people ever get involved. As a worship leader in my home church this is clear by the small amount of people who take part in the worship of the “One who saved us” from ourselves. And as I relate to those who teach and preach in our congregations, it is clear by the lack of involvement by those who listen.
Many people drift off into other pursuits, be it simply daydreaming, or writing and doodling, or even falling asleep. There is a general disregard for God in the church today. We do our “duty” and attend when we feel like it, and feel we have fulfilled our “obligation” to our faith. And yet this is not what God intended at all.
When we gather together, we are gathering for the express purpose of meeting with our God on a corporate level. There is far to much of God to encounter on an individual basis, and God created us for relationship, both with Him first, and with other believers. And we gather to encourage and strengthen one another and to encounter God together. I wrote about this aspect in a earlier blog. Christians, biblically at least, are supposed to be known one for their love for one another, John 13:34-35, but more importantly by the presence of God.
We are to personally know God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent deeply and intimately, and walk together with Him in relationship, responding to His lead and following His example. Anything less is simply a religion of rules and regulations, that can never free you, nor can it save you.
But that is where many of us leave it. We allow the “minister” to do the work of following God, and we get on with our lives. We have become a culture of God watchers. We simply sit around, allow someone else to “encounter God for us” and come and tell us what God said. Then we decide if we will listen, or if we will respond, based upon how we feel at any given moment. We have become content to be the spectator sitting in the bleachers, watching the game played out in front of us, while we listen to the play by play and chat with our friends. And as a result our lives don’t change, and people around us really don’t want what we have to offer. And if I can be so bold as to say, we really don’t have anything to offer.
I believe that this is something that God is changing in this hour of our lives. It is not something He is trying to change. He is changing it. He has the strange impression that He is God or something. And He is right, He is God. And so He is calling us to go deeper than we have ever gone before. He is calling us down from the bleachers, and into the game. You see God never intended for there to be a “priesthood”. There wasn’t supposed to be a select few who responded to the call of “ministry” while the rest of us went on living life. He states in Exodus 19:6 the He planned to have a “Kingdom of priests”, not a small select few. Israel was supposed to be a nation that as a whole could enter into His presence, and know Him personally, and to speak with Him personally just like Moses did. Scripture tells in Exodus 33:11 that “Moses talked with God face to face, as a man talks with His friend.” And that was what God wanted for all people. But Israel said to Moses that He should go talk with God and then come back and tell them what God said. They were afraid.
And ever since that day we have had “God Watchers”. People who sit on the sidelines and wait for the “minister” to tell them what God said, and, like Israel, then decide whether they were going to listen or not. And this is what God desires to change in us. For us to come to know Him personally, and then simply follow His direction and participate with Him in the establishment of His kingdom here on earth. To go from a “God watcher” to living for “God alone.” To come to a place where nothing else really matters. Not to have our heads stuck in the clouds and useless and irrelevant, but to reach out to the world with the hand of God and touch the lives of those around us, just like Jesus did when He walked on earth.
But first we have to make the switch that God is calling us to. To “seek first His kingdom” and allow Him to work in us. For only when we make Him our first priority, or as Jesus calls it, our first love can we then truly “go into all the world”. Our choice is whether we will respond to God’s call. Will we remain “God watchers” content to be on the sidelines, or will we get involved, being sold out to Him and living for “God alone”.