I don’t like zombie movies. I get unsettled really quick thinking about being around a mob of people who are actually dead but they’re walking around like they aren’t. I would not want to get infected with the zombie virus and become like that!
Sometimes I wonder whether or not I’m living in a spiritual zombie apocalypse right now. I can remember being challenged in church to go deeper in God’s Word, to go higher in the Spirit, to go further in my walk with God. The call would go out, but very few would respond…including me. It’s left me disturbed at times, wondering if I’m living out my own personal Night of the Living Dead.
Am I a zombie? Am I infected? Are the people around me infected too?
Maybe you’ve felt the same way. Let me encourage you – you are not a zombie! If you were, you wouldn’t feel the challenge to go the the next level. You are however in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and like me you need help to remain faithful until the Lord Jesus comes – you need help to survive the present crisis. Here are a few weapons we can use in our fight:
1. You can’t get it all in one message. We cannot receive everything we need from God in one dose. Sin is too deep, God is too big and grace is too awesome! Our instant culture conditions us to “put a band-aid on cancer.” It teaches us to look at God’s Word as medicine rather than food. Medicine works on the symptoms for the moment; food brings wellness over time. God is too big for me to get all I need from Him in one message. Besides, when will I EVER stop needing Him?
2. Spiritual health takes time.Even if we’ve “got it”, having it in our head is one thing, putting it into practice is something else. It took time for us to get off track, it’s going to take time for us to get back on track and a little extra to stay on track. What’s important is that we accept the truth of our situations as God reveals it to us through His Word and that we commit ourselves with His help to go in another direction. It’s called repentance – making a commitment to stop leading and following myself.
3. Did the message make you mad?…GOOD! We must accept that our biggest enemy in the fight against sin is not God, not the Word, not the pastor, not other people – not even Satan, but our biggest enemy is…ME. Even being a child of God, our sinful nature is still in us, waiting to exert it’s dominion. When the Spirit of God brings the Word of God, the flesh in us will react – and that can’t feel good because flesh is flesh and Spirit is Spirit. If we don’t feel upset, it may mean we’re callous – not spiritual. God’s Word is designed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable…sometimes being “stirred up” is a good thing!
4. Stop living the lie. We really can get what we need to mature in Christ. Week after week the pastors and teachers share the Word with us – we just don’t hear it. Did you miss class? Did your body make it to class but the rest of you was somewhere else? Did you get the Word in class..and then leave it there? The Word is not designed to be listened to – its designed to be heard, and that means that it is received and applied to our everyday lives. Sometimes this means talking to the pastor/teacher outside of class about what we get inside class. We must move beyond the lie of the apostate church – that we simply need to meet, greet, eat and retreat to repeat!
5. Strive to BE somebody. God is more interested changing who we are than what we do. He wants to change our desires, our values and our priorities. If he can change those, our actions will follow suit. When we focus only on changing our actions, we short-circuit His work our lives. Sure, I may do well for a little time, maybe for a while, but sooner or later I will relapse and return to my old ways like a pig going back to it’s own vomit. Don’t focus on changing what you do: focus on Him, what He’s done, what He’s doing for you. Learn to love God more. Appreciate and receive His love for you. That will certainly change who you are, and that will “do what it do!!!”
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Rev. Mario Randell Williams now lives in Newark, Ohio. He currently serves as Executive Pastor and Director of Christian Education for Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and is the Executive Administrator of the National Baptist Convention Housing and Economic Development.