Friday, June 1, 2012

Gut Check, Part One

We have a large hydrangea plant in front of our house.  Last year it grew to probably 5 feet tall and looked very promising.  All spring and summer, we waited and waited for it to bloom.  Finally, it squeaked out one teeny tiny flower.  Spoken and unspoken words bubbled up in us: "That's it?!  All those gorgeous leaves and all that height and width, and you just put out ONE flower?!"  By the time fall rolled around, we had given up hope of ever having a fruitful hydrangea plant.

Many many times in my life, I find odd little things will be a direct reflection of my spiritual state.  Really...if you watch and listen carefully to the seemingly random things in your life, you have a front row seat to see God in action and to hear Him.  Put your ear close and press will hear Him.  Focus your eyes to see beyond what is in front of you, and you will see Him.  It's much like the wind...that unseen force that sways the trees and rattles the leaves.

I was looking at my dysfunctional hydrangea plant one day last summer, and in my spirit, I heard the whisper.  That plant was like me.  It looked healthy and right, but there was no bloom, no fruitfulness.  Another rebuke, another discipline in my life.  He disciplines those He loves.  Repentance gushed, and His faithful love and forgiveness flowed.

This summer, our hydrangea is bursting with blue goodness.

This morning, I was reading in Revelation 3.  As a note in my Bible said, "This letter is intended by the Lord as an urgent spiritual wake-up call."  He said to the church at Sardis: "I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead.  Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God."

Again, the correction in my spirit.  

The hydrangea had bloomed.  It's easy to stop there.  It is quite natural to pick the flowers and put them in a vase.  Everyone who sees them sees beauty and life.  But the stems know the reality of severed vitality.    

You have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead.  

God says over and over as He is speaking to the churches in Revelation that He sees their works.  He knows their hearts.  We all lay naked and exposed before Him.  There is no hiding, no pretending when it comes to Him.

He also repeats over and over: "Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches."  He wants to get our attention here.  He wants us to press in and listen to what He's saying to the churches in Revelation.

Why don't we??

Here's a gut check:  Perhaps we simply do not care about this enough to really put forth the effort.  Perhaps we want to grab onto Him as a Savior (no hell for me, thank you!), but we don't want to make Him Lord of our lives (no thanks, I've got my own way of doing things).  Yes, we are saved by grace, with absolutely no effort of our own. But so many people stop there.  They pick the flower and put it in a vase...end of story.  

Very few seem to be really committed to following Him.  Am I??

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