The greatest hindrance to Christian revival and spiritual awakening is Jesus-distancing. If you’re often unaware of the presence and power of Jesus, you’ve been Jesus-distancing. Jesus-distancers do all they can to dodge Jesus but Jesus said, “Come unto Me,” not “Keep your distance.”
Many church attendees actively practice Jesus-distancing during the church service. You can see it in their body language. Jesus-distancers prefer religious sentimentality instead of Spirit-led intimacy with Jesus.
Too many churches are more seeker-friendly than Jesus-friendly. Jesus-friendly churches make lots of room for the risen Jesus to demonstrate his power and presence in their midst. They allow the risen Jesus to frequently interrupt and redirect their meetings.
They are eager to give the living Jesus full and direct control of their worship services. When you enter a Jesus-friendly church meeting you sense His awesome presence and power. Jesus-distancers try to avoid Jesus-friendly churches.
Jesus-distancing prevents God’s Spirit from spreading. Still, too many Christians regularly practice Jesus-distancing. We say we love Jesus, but day by day we keep our heart far from Him. The more we structure and formalize our faith the more we embrace Jesus-distancing.
Jesus-distancing isn’t measured by feet (or by meters) but by the hardness of your heart. Many of the people who practice Jesus-distancing like to mask their hard heart and to pretend to praise Him. They try to look religious while having minimal contact with the risen Jesus.
Jesus-distancing churches have sermons and ceremonies about Jesus, but they don’t let Him take direct control of their Sunday morning worship service. Programming a church service and allowing only the pastor to speak is a very effective way to practice Jesus-distancing.
Too many pastors feel entitled to dominate a church service instead of empowering the congregation to obey God’s Spirit. Christian leaders should hide behind the risen Jesus, not step in front of Him.
To experience the glory of Spirit-led awakening, we don’t have to abandon church, but we do need to overcome Jesus-distancing and to surrender full control of the meetings to the risen Jesus. My heart longs to see churches open up their meetings to the presence and control of God’s Spirit.
Life’s distractions and temptations demand our attention and tend to steer us away from focusing on the presence and glory of Jesus. Active, willful, and/or unconfessed sin is another cause of Jesus-distancing.
The harder your heart the easier it is to Jesus-distance and to let your heart grow even harder. If you want to rebel against something, rebel against Jesus-distancing by always hanging tightly with Him.
Trying to keep the risen Jesus in the past or in the future is a form of Jesus-distancing. If you’re Jesus-distancing in your heart it doesn’t matter how much you do religious things and try to look coolly churchy.
“We have seen His glory.” John wrote his Gospel in the past tense. The King is already among us! Emmanuel–God with us. When we’re unaware of Jesus’ daily presence and glory in our lives, we are somehow overlooking His arrival on planet earth, His invitation for us to abide in Him, and His promise: “Lo, I am with you always.” Even when we can’t see or sense a glimmer of hope, this truth remains steadfast: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The body of Christ needs courageous leaders who will cultivate and oversee gatherings where people can be free to follow and obey the promptings of God’s Spirit. If Christian leaders would cultivate a Spirit-led environment and not dominate the proceedings, God’s Spirit would activate and empower ordinary people to speak up. Be Jesus-friendly, not Jesus-distancing.
Your self-identity isn’t an independent entity. It’s only your opinion of who you are. Your Creator knows who you are better than you do. Get close to Jesus and learn who you really are!
The more you avoid
The risen Jesus
The greater grows
The aching void
In your heart.
Too often we build our lives
Of wonder and awe.