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Going Through the Motions By Rev. J.

Patrick Bowman

I dont want to spend my whole life askin,What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions? by Jason Houser, Matthew West, Sam Mizell, and performed by Matthew West

The above lyrics, performed so skillfully by contemporary Christian artist Matthew West, describe a condition so prevalent in the church today that a great percentage should also be asking What if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?, but fail to do so because of the answers they might have to make their own. The above portrays a person lamenting the time and energy required to account for living a half-hearted Christian life and feeling the personal dissatisfaction associated with it. The following scripture, Revelation 3:14-22, tells of Gods displeasure with those in the faith who give only a token performance in serving the Lord. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:14-22 KJV) You will first notice the knowing of God followed by the wish of God. Being lukewarm in ones works, or exercise of faith, is a dangerous place to be. To be spit from ones mouth is harsh language indicative of expelling a bad taste, something undesirable to keep. God would rather you do no works at all, and be cold, than to give a partial effort, and be lukewarm. Acknowledgment of sin and repentance bring back the fervor of giving everything, not just going through the motions. As the parent of two children, it was far more important the effort put into a project than the actual outcome. I was just as proud of a C accomplished using 100% effort as an A received with a lazy attitude. Many we would call the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, as well as those we know personally, have given their best effort in seeing their destinies realized. Joshua and Caleb showed such resolve as they faced a nation of naysayers, as chronicled in Numbers 13:25-14:10. And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to

Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. (Num 13:25-14:10 KJV) We know from the story that because of their unbelief, the entire nation of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness until that entire generation died off. Only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter the Promised Land. The reward for their faithfulness to God was great. The judgment for the entire nations unbelief and lukewarm inspired grumbling was severe. God next mentions a false sense of security as a reason to chastise the Laodicean church. This is also brought forth in the parable of the foolish man in the 12th chapter of the Gospel of Luke. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:16-21 KJV) The giving of all has to be rich toward God, not mans greed or glory. Solomon reiterated this fact many times in his writings. The folly of anxiety over acquiring things instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is expressed by Jesus in Matthew 6. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father

feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Mat 6:24-34 KJV) Could misplaced seeking be a cause for simply going through the motions? A sense of purpose outside of oneself, under the rule of God the Father, through the Lordship of Jesus, and administered by the Holy Spirit is an essential element in growing to a place of personal maturity and productivity in society. A sense of well-being is an added benefit of such a transition. Many in the Body of Christ are spending their lives in a state of lukewarm mediocrity that manifests itself in how society relates to church involvement and Christianity in general. God can reach the cold and use the hot, those that have given everything. But the self righteous, in their state of reliance on storing up riches in their own strength, for their own glory, sicken God and cause rejection on His part. I dont want to spend my whole life asking, What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions? How about you?