We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge about God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by how we pray and what goes on in our hearts. Many of us, I suspect, have no idea how impoverished we are at this level. Let us ask the Lord to show us.
– J.I. Packer
I’m a church brat. I never heard this term until I moved south, but that is indeed what I am. I was in the church 9 months before I was born and have never known any different…and I wouldn’t want to! I grew up in a great Christian home with two amazing, solid believing parents. We had Adult Bible studies at our house routinely that my dad led. Growing up, some of my fondest memories were doing “bedtime theology” as a bedtime story…learning Bible verses and character qualities for the life of a five year old and his practical problems. I went to Bible college and seminary after being a leader in the High School youth group. So why am I telling you this?
You see, while I have been afforded great opportunities to excel in my knowledge of God and have also taken a fair amount of church responsibilities due to my specific giftedness, J.I. Packer says that these things should never be my main focus. I think a lot of times people define who they think they are and their success by how much ministry they’re involved in or how much Bible knowledge they’ve accrued. I know that is a danger for ME! These things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but they should never take the place of seeking the Lord in our hearts.
How do we gauge our intimacy with God? How do we know that we know that we know that nothing has taken the place of our time getting to know God Himself? We PRAY! We communicate with a God who loves us and desires good things for His own. When was the last time you felt so deeply connected with God to the point that you knew in that moment there was nowhere else you would rather be than RIGHT there in His presence? I have a suspicion like Dr. Packer that many of us feel so inadequate to come to the Lord that we sometimes stay away out of shame. It was for this very reason that Christ conquered death on our behalf! No more shame…no more impoverished heart…no more “I don’t know what to pray!” Go to the Lord and BE FILLED!!!
Clayton J. Elliott
Pastoral Ministries and Prayer, Kontaktmission USA
clay@GoKMUSA.org (731) 217-1741