Writing recently in OUTREACH magazine, Brad Powell had some pretty scathing words for born again believers when he said, ‘I believe the biggest obstacle to the church fulfilling its mission is on the inside. Too many believers are asleep in the light. And the real problem is they don’t know it.
Jesus makes it clear. Believers can look awake. They can be highly respected for their lives of faith. They can do and say all the right things. And yet they’re dead, asleep in the light.’
Challenged by this statement I began to wonder is this true of me and the believers in my home town……are we ‘asleep in the light?’
This phenomenon of being ‘asleep in the light’ is something which has afflicted the body of born again believers down through the ages. In the Bible, Jesus speaking in the book of Revelation got straight to the point in his assessment of the church at Sardis:
“These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
Brad Powell lists some of the key symptoms of this ‘spiritual narcolepsy’, the most obvious of which are summarised below:
· There’s talk about Jesus but no genuine experience of him. We talk about him more than we talk with.
· Spiritual life is more ‘weekend’ than an everyday of the week experience. ‘Church defines our experience with Christ more than Christ defines our life experience.’
· Spiritual life is more ‘form than substance’……more ‘outside than inside reality’……It is not ‘something we are.’
· Despite doing all the right things, there’s little authentic change in believers’ lives. It’s impossible to genuinely experience Jesus and remain unchanged. Lack of change this is a clear sign believers are ‘asleep in the light.’
· We are all about ‘God in our plans’, rather than ‘us in His plans’.
· The eternal condition of people in the local community is rarely considered.
At the conclusion of his article Brad Powell gets to the heart of the matter: “We don’t feel like we have a problem with being ‘asleep in the light.’ This is a big one for me. When I’m not consciously aware of the danger of becoming less passionate spiritually, it’s a clear sign I’m already there.”
In my local community many born again believers will not recognise the problem of being “asleep in the light.” They will point to the activities they are involved in and the many responsibilities that they have. Some will be quite irritated reading this post because it challenges their view of Christian living.
For me, Brad Powell is both courageous and prophetic. The challenge to all born again believers is to reflect on their lives before the Living God, repent and turn around while there is still time.