Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Getting Out of the Slum

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV)

One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is this one from his book, The Weight of Glory: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Do you ever have the sense there must be something more when you attend church on Sunday, a large group ministry meeting on campus, or a small group Bible study?  Most of us, like the ignorant child Lewis speaks of, are content with our religious experiences, but I think there are times when we have a sense there should be something more, perhaps a lot more, than we are experiencing.  

If so, then this is the prayer we should be praying.  In times where we are just scraping by spiritually, robotically going to church but experiencing little of the joy of worship, we should fall to our knees and pray this prayer.  When following Jesus seems to be all about doing activities and attending meetings, and we feel burned out, Paul’s prayer can lead us into a deeper understanding and joy.   Or if you lean toward thinking the world has a lot more to offer you than the Church, then praying this prayer can change your perspective.

The truth is Lewis is right.  Most of us are far too easily pleased.  We are content to accept far less than is offered.  And what is offered is so much more than we could imagine.  I have been in slums and I have had holidays at the beach, and there is no contest as to which is better.  
Today, if you want to get out of the slum and go to the beach, Paul’s prayer is the place to start.  

© Jim Musser 2018

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