living in desperation mode

desperate

 

I’m an adult now…I’m an adult now…I’ve got the problems of an adult…On my head and on my shoulders…I’m an adult now’ The year was 1986 and that was the first single for a Canadian band that was being noticed on MuchMusic.  Crank the clock ahead close to thirty years and those words still ring true.  The song didn’t have any answers but it was a song that carried a lot of pain.  Growing up, out on your own, and having to deal with life’s problems. 

Do you remember a time when life was carefree?  As a kid I’d play outdoors all summer long from sunup to sundown and my mom would scrub my knees raw in the tub at the end of the day trying to get me clean.  You can’t scrub off tan!!!!  Scrubbed raw knees was the biggest difficulty in my life as a kid.  I was a pool rat every afternoon at the Aylmer pool.  We’d go to Stan’s and get a bag full of candy for a quarter.  We’d see a matinee at the Strand on Saturday afternoon.  As I drive through Aylmer to do grocery shopping on Fridays, I remember those simpler days.  But I’m an adult now…I’ve got the problems of an adult.   

And Who are believers to turn their hearts towards in desperation?

There’s been a resurgence of expositional preaching and good doctrinal teaching over the last number of years.  MacArthur, Piper, Dever, and Storms are a few who’ve led the way.  Shepherd’s Conference and t4g have been good for my soul over the last number of years.  But there seems to be a missing thrust…a missing element.  That missing element is prayer.

[4] But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  (Acts 6:4 ESV)

The leaders in the early church had some practical blind spots in their ministry so they choose a number of qualified guys to take care of those important needs while they kept to the main things…the Word and prayer.  The leaders were about the Word but they didn’t stop there.  They did carpet time.  They were hunkering down on their faces before the Living God.  They believed that prayer is the preview of God’s action to quote Dever.

I don’t think we’re desperate enough.  We are desperate…but we just don’t realize it.  We can look at our building and our mostly filled pews.  We can count the offering and we’re on target… we might even be up a bit.  The tasks are being done. We’ve got people serving.  The bases are being covered. We’ve got Sunday School and a music ministry and outreach programs.  We can pack them in at Christmas and Easter.  We meet and strategize and plan but do we pray?  I mean really pray?  Are we just keeping the big machine running through the might of men or are we looking to the all-powerful God?

I find myself lingering over Revelation 3 a lot and there really is a prayer takeaway.  

[17] For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, (Revelation 3:17a)

From their vantage point, they had it goin’ o-on.  They brought their collective swagger to the mirror and said ‘lookin’ go-od!  But they were looking at themselves like they were in front of a carnival mirror.  They had an inaccurate view.  The verse went on to give them the perfectly accurate perspective from Heaven…and it wasn’t too flattering.

…not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  (Revelation 3:17 ESV)

Now read those words again slowly.  Wretched.  Pitiable.  Poor.  Blind.  Naked.  They were desperate but they just didn’t know it.  They had a faulty self-assessment.  They had been measuring with the wrong tool.  Jesus had left the building and they didn’t even notice.  It was a strong word of rebuke that they needed to hear.  The Lover of their souls had a deep hatred for their self-sufficiency.  

But the beauty of this passage is that Jesus didn’t leave them out in the cold…’no soup for you!’  He didn’t say this far and no farther.  Jesus called them to repent and called them back to intimacy.  

[20] Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  (Revelation 3:20 ESV)

Have you ever put human relationships on autopilot?  That’s a rhetorical question.  You have and so have I.  We can do that with Jesus.  We can go through the motions.  We can know the right things about Him but keep Him at arm’s distance.  We can fill our heads with info about Him but remain distant.  He’s inviting His own to come back into close relationship with Him.  If you describe your prayer life as suckaroo, hear these words to call you back into tight communion.  Confess your distance.  The reality is that when God seems distant, He wasn’t the One Who moved.  We are desperate for Him…for every breath…for every step…but sometimes we just forgot.

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