>Seth and I have been taking turns reading this book called “The Slumber of Christianity”. The book delves deep in explaining why we as Christians may be doing right by God, but we are no longer excited or yearning to be with him, putting us in a kind of slumber. The author goes through examples of why we are sleeping, and how to awaken our minds and souls back to Christ in Heaven. Unfortunately for me, Seth has already returned the book to the library, so now, I will need to paraphrase some of the highlights for you. To make it easier, I am going to italicize a topic, and then explain it.
The first topic is about differentiating between what we consider Christianity:
Christianity has become a classification, and not a way of life.
There are many that consider themselves Christian, when in fact their church mentions nothing about Christ, or aspiring to be saved by Christ. A great example is a Unitarian church not far from here. Here is a blurb from their “principles” section:
We covenant to affirm and promote:
The inherent worth and dignity of every person,
Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations,
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations,
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning,
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process in our congregations and in society at large,
The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all, and
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
While most of this is great, and I am happy that they aspire to love each other, there is no mention of living in Christ. The most unfortunate thing about this church is that they do have Christian members, who are slowly being sucked out of the Christian faith. Not only do they have Christian members, but they also invite people of all faiths (Buddhist, Jewish, Islam, etc.), and of all sexual orientation. They even have committees and organizations made just for going to government functions to promote equality through a one world religion (love & peace). It seems that in these times, Christians are people who live good lives, not people living in the definition of the word Christian: believer and follower of Christ. Before my blood pressure rises any higher at the thought of the sins of this dead church, we will move on.
Then, he looks at what has taken the place of our aspirations towards Heaven:
We are caught up in the riches of this life, when we should be considering them a foretaste of what is to come.
As Christians we know that Heaven awaits, and that the streets will be lined with gold, and there will be no more want or suffering. As humans we are uncontrollably caught up in this world, and what lies ahead on the “to do” list. We see things every day that could make our life happier, but that happiness only lasts for a while, and then it is on to the next item, or job, or vacation. How many times do we go about our lives wishing for the next big thing? God has given us this Earth as a kind of “pre-Heaven”, if we chose to look at it that way. For example, if you stop and take a look around you at all the beauty and splendor of this natural world, you will see God’s hand at work. Now imagine those same things, like birds, trees, mountains, etc…in Technicolor. I say that because no one really knows what Heaven will be like, but the Bible does mention some details. For example, the following verses from Revelation explain what the new Jerusalem in the new Heaven will look like:
Revelations 21:18 “The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”
Revelations 21:23 “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.”
Revelations 22:1 “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Next, he looks at why we have forgotten where we are headed:
Christianity has lost it’s hope.
The best example for this is to remember yourself as child on Christmas Eve. Your parents made you go to bed that night, despite your excitement and hope for the presents you would receive the next day. When you awoke on Christmas morning, your hope for that new toy was uncontrollable as you ripped open your presents. After a few weeks of playing with your new toy, you were bored with it, and the hope had died long before. This can be likened to a new Christian. You are saved, and you feel the Spirit moving through you on a regular basis. Your hopes are in Heaven, and the life you will lead with Christ. You remain faithful, and still love Christ, but after a while, your enthusiasm fades. You become once again intoxicated by what this earthy realm holds for you. Your hope turns towards the worldly things.
Finally, the author gives us some encouragement and tools to get us back on track:
Our minds and hearts should be hoping for Heaven on a daily basis.
If you can dedicate some time each day for the Lord, by reading, praying, listening to sermons, etc., you can keep your hope alive. Something that has kept me going, especially after seeing so many of my friends going down the wrong path, is praying for God to keep me motivated. When I get stressed out at work or at home, I pray for God to give me peace, and hope for my life with him in Heaven. Try to set your sights on how glorious it will be to be with Jesus on a regular basis. Imagine how awesome you feel when the Spirit is in you for those brief awesome moments, and focus on that being your permanent state in Heaven. Close your eyes and try to imagine the indescribable light of God, as you meet him face to face. And best of all, pray that Jesus comes quickly, so those whom you care for, that may not be going in the right direction, may see the right path, and be able to follow it before their ends. For when that day comes, we will finally be where we belong, and our new life in Heaven can be realized.