Import Before Export

I love taking pictures.  It’s fun sharing them via a couple of applications. But before I can share them (export) I must first import something worthy of showing.  This is true for life. Before I have anything to say, or anything to “display” there must first be something of significance and truth in me.  Before I can help someone, somehow, I must first have resources at my disposal that enables and qualifies me to do so.

There are other illustrations that drive home my point. How can I teach unless I have become a teacher…how can I plumb unless I have become a plumber… how can I build unless I have become a builder? But most importantly, how can I do the work and ministry of Jesus Christ until I become a spiritually equipped and empowered follower? How can I export spiritual life and works unless He has first imported His Life, abilities and resources? The answer is, obvious, I can’t. Oh, I might be busy doing religious things, working in a number of ways for a “good” cause.  But honestly evaluating over time, showing little to no true success, meaningful lasting results as measured by God’s criteria.

We don’t have to be perfect to partner in God’s work.  If that were required, none of us would be qualified to join Him.  But, flawed as we may be, if we are Godward people, intent on being His servants in everything, He is pleased to give us “eternal stuff” to Do and the ability to Be, facilitating it.  Nothing could be more humbling nor exhilarating.

The Christian denomination I belong to prides itself to some degree on how much they are doing. They are a very busy group.  But, as the stats are browsed, little of lasting value is being accomplished. It seems that we may actually be losing the “war”.   We only have to compare divorce stats in our culture vs those in the church…sadly, not much difference.  We’re languishing…busy doing, I think we have forgotten how to BE, first, before we DO.   Attempting to export before we import.  God didn’t make us human DOings, but rather human BEings. We must “be” before we can “do”. We must become the genuine article; undeniably,  the authentic, real people we claim to be, first…then the irrefutable proofs and evidences characteristic and normal for Jesus followers will be easily seen.  What we are will ring “true”, even without words.

In spite of all our preaching, productions, programs, buildings, marketing and prowess, ad nauseam, we are failing. What’s really needed is a transforming spiritual revival that only God Himself can bring, and with it, the – validating virtues and power the indwelling God-Life manifests.  That should be the norm, in us and through us, not the exception.

Somehow, if Our God would “rend the heavens and come down“, bring us back to God-Life again, we’d find we don’t need the many things we’ve borrowed from the world system and its “tools” (Isaiah, the prophet, refers to these things as “strong horses”   Isaiah 31:1, 3).  He would be our strong horse, busy doing the work through those who have finally BECOME, suitable vessels, conduits for His Life flow.  Psalm 127:1

I think the words of St. Francis of Assisi say it well:  “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel…and if necessary, use words.”  Exemplary lives lived are the most powerful evangelistic tool…God-life on display.   When, via our lives, “HE is lifted up, HE will draw mankind to Himself.”

Please forgive if  sound like I’m “preaching to the choir”.   I guess I am.  But first, this preaching is at me, for I’ve been a director of that “choir” for some time.  The scriptures tell us that “…It is time for judgement to begin at the House of God….”  1 Peter 4:17  What better place for it to start and especially with the leaders in that house.  I am the chief sinner in all of this.  I have served churches for nearly 40 years.  As I look back, I’m ashamed.  It may sound like I’m pointing a finger out there.  If that is the case, then know there are three pointing back at me, and justly so.

But, I am alive today, as you are, if you are reading this.  I, you, have this opportunity to BE, so that we can DO as HE intends, giving Him the honor HE deserves, fulfilling His purposes in our sphere of influence, our destiny in this dark world, drawing humanity to HIM.  Psalm 67:1-2

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

May HE increase in all of us,