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The Cop Outs
by Steve Countryman
8/26/2013 / Christian Living
Having been raised in church throughout my childhood and even as an adult I have not heard teachings as I am about to share with you now. Growing up I remember hearing about the mighty outpouring of God's Spirit. Acts 2:17-18 17'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." This powerful scripture would often times be quoted to give us hope in what God was going to do. It, however, has become a Christianese phrase. It is from the Bible and sounds good when quoted. What makes it qualify for a Christianese phrase is that it has always been treated the sane way as a "future word" that takes place sometime in the future. This scripture is to be applied today not years into the future.
As a Christianese phrase it is used as a cop out, a lame excuse. No need to do anything else but wait for God. The Christians that believe this are powerless and worthless as Christians who are here to impact their surroundings for God's kingdom. I say this because nothing happens in the meantime. That brings me to another scripture that has become a Christianese phrase. Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Again this scripture has been used as a "future word". To wait on the Lord, to wait for the Lord, for the Lord to do something, show something or perform some miracle as we wait on the Lord. No need for you to do anything as you wait FOR the Lord. This is another cop out! The real meaning of this passage is not to wait for the Lord but to wait upon the Lord as to wait on tables at a restaurant as a servant. To do this you must be vigilant in your daily prayer time as you continue to seek God's kingdom and righteousness.
Another scripture that has been used as a Christianese phrase Romans 8:14 "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God." If you are being "led by the Spirit of God" you wait for God. You wait to hear from God, you wait for a sign from God, but you don't run ahead of God. So no need for you to do anything until you are "led by the Spirit of God". Once again this phrase is used as a cop out. Many times these three scriptures are used in combination when speaking Christianese. "I'm waiting on the Lord to pour out His mighty Spirit on all flesh." "I am a Spirit led Christian who waits on the Lord to guide me in His good time." When these scriptures are treated this way it is like someone is using them to take time off from being a Christian as they "wait on the Lord'. Just another example of a cop out.
Cop outs are just another way to avoid having to change. It is easier to blame God for not doing anything as "you wait upon the Lord' or as "the Spirit leads you" than to blame yourself and have to do something about it. Looking like a Christian while you "wait upon the Lord". Meanwhile God eagerly awaits your decision to initiate daily contact in prayer and seeking Him through His Word. James 4:8 "Come near to God and he will come near to you." You have to make the first move if you want God to move in your life!
It is easy to fall onto the Christianese trap and become stagnant as a Christian but that isn't God's will for your life! God considers you part of the "body of Christ" and each body part has its work to do. None more important than the other but ALL working together to accomplish His will. It doesn't say that you are some spare body part waiting to be used by God. Hearing from God is always a good idea. You cannot hear from God while speaking Christianese. You can hear from God in several ways if you want to. God speaks to us through His Word, through a "given word", from a friend, through a stranger, in dreams, in visions, in circumstances, in signs and wonders, in prayer time, during worship and praise, on your way to work, while you are getting dressed and anywhere He chooses. Sometimes it is in a small still voice while other times it may be a normal voice in your ear. How will you know if it is God who is talking to you? There are two things to always keep in mind to know if it is from God. One is that whatever you hear will NEVER contradict God's Word. If it does it is not from God. Additionally God will give you confirmation. God's will for your life is found in His Word if you will take the time to find it. Don't depend on others to tell you His will for you.
As humans our problem is that we must always know how things will be done. We then give our permission or opinion about how it is done. So every time we figure out how something is accomplished we don't need our faith or trust in God to do it for us. The sin nature is to exclude God from our lives and our decisions. When we do pray we treat God the same way. We tell God how we expect Him to answer our prayers because we have figured it out. Not only how but when, with whom and where we expect our prayers answered. That doesn't show God your faith or trust but your lack of it!
"So what am I supposed to do until God speaks to me or pours out His Spirit? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 "Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." If you earnestly seek God's kingdom and His righteousness by doing these three things daily you WILL hear from God! You will witness His mighty power manifested in your life. You will be His witness and He will be your testimony. We are here on earth for God's pleasure and His glory. He is not here as our genie. God does not need us but we desperately need Him! When we neglect God we only neglect ourselves!
Living a daily life as Jesus would or to be a Christ-like Christian means that when any opportunity presents itself we are to respond as Jesus would. To pray, to bless, to help, to encourage, to share the gospel, to lend a hand, to share our testimony and most of all to love them! It isn't up to us to judge them first to see if they are worthy of our help and time. Or to decide for God if this person really needs help or prayer. We are God's hands, feet and mouth here on earth. We are His vessel, His servant, His tool/instrument to bring God glory. Our job is to do the work of the Kingdom and let God do the work of healing, rescuing, delivering and saving. It isn't up to us but up to God. We are here to give God every opportunity to make it happen to those around us! That is what the mighty out pouring of God's Spirit is like today in you, to you, with you, for you and most of all through you. Then people will see Jesus in you everywhere you go!! So don't cop out but jump in. That is my goal!
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Read more articles by Steve Countryman
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