Summary: committing to a growing experience of Christ and helping others to ’grow on’ with you
AAA Christians - Accelerating, growing and causing others to grow on!
An all too common sound, especially right about this time of year in our cold climate is the sound of the car’s starter turning too slowly to fire the engine - you know the sound, -- (Uugh. Uuuuugh. Click, Click, Click!) With a sinking feeling you realize, ’the battery is dead!’
If the battery in your car is about 5 years old you can be sure it is reaching the end of its usefulness and - in the scheme of things, it will choose to let you know on the coldest morning of the year! Then again it might be discharged because you just left the interior lights on all night after searching for the keys you dropped when you were getting out...
Whatever the reason, a dead battery is one of those automotive problems that is quite easily (relatively speaking, of course) remedied. Find a person with a set of jumper cables, then hunt down the battery (did you know that they are putting them under the seats in some cars?), and attach the cables - positive to positive, negative to negative - and soon your car will start. The connection allows a dead battery to be re-energized!
There are times when I feel like a dead battery - drained, without energy. Our spiritual batteries get drained, depleted from time to time. The symptoms vary, but are similar.
Prayer becomes a difficult duty, even an empty ritual!
Doubt lurks just out of sight, an unseen presence that robs us of our peace and even our sleep.
When time comes for us to be in church, we think - "I think I’d rather just stay here, alone."
Other Christians talk about the way that God is using them and instead of feeling joy, we find ourselves feeling resentful, even angry, for no reason.
In those times in life, when we experience those symptoms and more, there is a story from the OT very helpful. It is the story of Elijah. He was a prophet whose spiritual batteries were discharged by a great time of spiritual confrontation when God gave him a grand victory in front of the whole assembly of pagan priests and national leaders! The story is told in 1st Kings 18. [Pew Bible page 557]
After a long struggle with a king and queen who were leading the people to serve the regional gods called the Baals, God told Elijah it was time for a show-down. He proposed that the two factions each build an altar, prepare a sacrifice, and then ask their deity to send fire to burn up the offering.
READ 1 Kings 18:25-39
You would think this would a ’battery charging’ moment, wouldn’t you? But for Elijah, the juice was gone. He had given everything he had and his spiritual energy was at an all time low. He took off for the wilderness and a couple of days later here’s what we find him saying to God.
READ 1 Kings 19: 4b, 10
There are all kinds of reasons our spiritual batteries become discharged!
It can be the big surge that gets some grand project finally finished.
It can be a major life transition - getting married, having a baby, sending kids to college, going through a family member’s sickness.
It can be job loss.
Sometimes we grow disappointed with God, unable to grasp what He’s allowing around us and in that disappointment, our spiritual fervor wanes.
Then there are those times when we just don’t see what’s happening, when we can’t find any reason for feeling so exhausted.
But in those times we have a common need - we need an encourager. We need someone to connect with us, to pour on the encouragement so we can accelerate - and GROW ON!
The Bible says
- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25, NIV)
The Message puts that verse in these words:
- Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25, The Message)
Let us SPUR ONE ANOTHER ON towards love and good deeds; and let us ENCOURAGE one another!
What a command! As might be concluded from the way it is worded there are two sides to this!