I’ve grown distant from the Lord

Christians talk about how they used to be closer to God than they are now. Maybe you’re in this state. If you are and you want to change the situation, there is hope:

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.”
‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
  – Revelation 3:1-3, ESV

When Christians speak of spiritual renewal, I know this isn’t the first set of verses that they typically use. However, when I read over them, I find an incredible promise. Note how Christ described the church in Sardis: it was dead. Spiritually, it was living on past reputation. In truth, there was nothing going on. Yet Christ commands that church to wake up, to strengthen what remains, to remember what they have heard, to obey it, and to repent. Jesus would not give such a command if it were not possible. The promise from Jesus was if they would wake up, obey, and repent, they would be alive again.

Yes, there’s a warning, too. If the church didn’t obey, then He would come against it and they wouldn’t see Him in time to change their course. There wouldn’t be a Hezekiah seeking out Isaiah because the Assyrians were upon them moment (Isaiah 36-37). Christ would come and that would be it. The church in Sardis had to obey, and to obey immediately.

That gets to the root of the issue. Do you want to be close to the Lord again? How badly do you seek to restore the relationship you once had? Is it something you feel you must do now because you want so badly to be close again? Or are you more wanting to wait until something bad happens and you need God’s help before you ask to be close again? From the commands to the church in Sardis, only one of those attitudes is acceptable. Only the first one, wanting Jesus because you feel the pain of separation and the desire to be close again, is the correct path.

Jesus will honor it. However, that doesn’t erase all the consequences. Jesus didn’t promise that if you turn back, it will all be easy. If there is sin involved, it must be dealt with. You may have to make hard choices and separate yourself from some things or some people. You may have to seek forgiveness not only of God but others, too. It goes back to the question of how badly do you want the relationship restored? Desire it despite any pain or hardship and it will be done. Jesus will draw you close again. He will undo the distance you have put between Him and you. Do you want to live again? Remember what you’ve heard, obey, and repent. Jesus will take care of the rest.

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