Spiritual Realities

by Eric Ryan, Pastor of Leadership Development
Today is the last written devotional as we head into August. We are finalizing some things under the Make Disciples strategy that I think will be really exciting for many of you! Keep an eye out for more information in the coming month! 

This week I have been contemplating the parallels between a virus that is primarily unseen (to the average person) and spiritual realities that are also unseen. Please don’t try to read any hidden messages or stances on my part as this devotion is not about the pandemic, but spiritual realities. 

It started when I was processing the angst of some of my friends who have experienced the virus firsthand, either by contracting it or by being in the medical field. They watched many friends acknowledge the virus verbally but did not change anything about their behavior (masks, social distancing, etc). It hit me: the same frustrations they have, I often have as a Christian, trying to “spread the word” of a very real Jesus. 

Those who have experienced the virus firsthand share articles and videos: telling stories that prove the realities at play. They plead with others to wear their mask and feel uniquely bonded with like-minded folks who are saying the same things: people who are taking it just as seriously as they are in this season. 

When it comes to spiritual realities, Christians have experienced God firsthand. It’s not that they have heard about sin, the cross, and salvation: they have experienced it. It’s not that they have heard you can know God, but they know Him. Their life has been entirely changed because of God’s love, mercy, and grace. 

They share articles, tell stories, and plead with those unaffected to not just believe, but order their world around that truth. Those who have experienced spiritual things firsthand feel uniquely bonded to like-minded individuals who, like them, don’t just confess, but order their entire world around that confession. 

Here is the angst they often feel:

How do I interact with so many who seem to acknowledge Him with their lips, but their lives don’t reflect a change equal to their confession? If God, as creator and sustainer of all, is saying our greatest good comes from knowing Him, why don’t we order our schedules more in light of that truth? Why does the average committed churchgoer only attend 2x a month now when in 2004 they went 48 times a year? Why are family devotions only for the “elite”? Why, in every group and Bible study, is the primary thing confessed, “not spending time in the Word”? Why don’t people pray when they have access to the most loving and most powerful person in the universe?

Then we have the struggle of what we see vs. what we hear. Maybe we hear of the dangers, but still don’t know a single person affected. Maybe we have had friends jump out of line at a testing site, and receive a report that they are positive. Maybe we have been reading articles from other “experts” that tell us things that only serve to lessen the potency of what our “convicted” friends are saying to us. Then throughout the day, we have those “moments.”  Do I put on a mask or not? Do I go to this social event or not? Do I take my kids to their friend’s house or not? Moments when we have to discern what is real and what is not and act accordingly. 

The same happens spiritually. We listen to sermons, read our Bible, and read other books that often tell us one thing. Then we see things happening in our world that challenge the truths we’ve been hearing. Then we have moments of temptation or moments when we are convicted we need to change: we have to decide what to do. Do I act on what I say I believe or do I act on what I am seeing around me? The book of James tells us how we choose to act in those moments is a reflection of what we believe. 

Spiritual parallels are all around us. I don’t know where you are when it comes to altering your life based on spiritual realities, but if you need to process some things that you’re wrestling with, we’re here. Email us at [email protected] or [email protected] and someone will reach out to you. Praying for wisdom and discernment for all in this confusing time. Hang in there, Wildwood, and know you have church family that is here for you!
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