I’m sitting here watching a preacher on television, looking dapper in his nice pin-striped suit and colorful tie, offering well-traveled principles on how to get the most out of life. One of the points he has just made is “Learn How To Travel In The Fog” meaning, of course, when life is uncertain, there is One who is always certain and can be trusted, so follow His lead with the eyes of faith.
Good reminder to be sure.
The trouble is, when he made his point, the corresponding words that flashed on the television screen were slightly different. One little word was altered which changed the meaning completely. The person in the multimedia department who was responsible, and for whatever reason, flashed the words: “Learn To Travel In A Fog”. I’ll bet they wished they had caught it before it went to broadcast!
That seems to be the general atmosphere among the church scene of the 21st century. We yawn our way through Sunday and sleep-walk our faith throughout the week. Cobwebs grow along the cavernous chambers of our hearts. There is no bite, no vim and vigor and little passion in our love affair with Christ. What love affair? We’d rather keep it on the down-low, not wanting to turn it into something that will raise eyebrows or elicit exclaims of “what’s happened to you?” We prefer, many of us, to keep the thermostat on 75; not too hot, not too cool. Just right. Cozy, even.
I’m not posing that we look to emotionalism as being the savior of the church. Lord knows we have churches that pump up the jam, jump and shout amid lasers and stage lights and still have no more effect on cultural transformation than how a frog’s hopping in the woods would cause someone in town to turn his head worried over tremors and earthquakes. Whether the fog is on the stage or in the pews, no matter.
I am positing, however, a return to a high view of God. His being transcends all and if we lift our eyes above the fog, we will see Him. Tony Evans, pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, said he went to his neighborhood Wal-mart recently to shop for a few items. He didn’t want the hassle of long lines so he left his house early to avoid the hubbub but when he arrived, the parking lot was full. Groaning and not a little puzzled over why so many would be out shopping so early, he went inside to discover the reason: there was a store-wide clearance sale.
While waiting in one of those cursed long lines, it dawned on him that this is how most people approach their commitment level with Christ. If you can get God at a reduced price, they’re all for it. Keep God cheap and they’re in. But offer me a God at retail, or worse, an inflated price, uh, no thanks, I’ll just sleep in.
Say what you want about the Puritans, I have a strong appreciation for my forebears concerning the esteem to which they raised and praised God. It sounds out-dated I know, but they feared Him something fierce! Sure, at times they went a little overboard with the language of we humans as low-down dirty worms and worthless, but they really knew how to exalt the Almighty to the highest place and give Him His due honor.
Over the weekend, I heard some Christian girl group from the UK sing about Jesus as being their “sunshine”, all the while dancing and looking worldly and seductive; and though the sound was catchy, the lyrics were so nebulous one could easily think they were singing about a boyfriend. We want to package Christianity so close to the world’s comfort level (“keep Him cheap”) thinking that will hook them when all it does is muddy the waters a good deal more. Christianity then gets so assimilated into all other religions and worldviews it has lost its potency.
Ah, but go to the airwaves or workplace and herald Christ as the Almighty, omnipotent, transcendent Lord, the only way and only hope for mankind, then heads will turn and the fog will clear. Our culture is saddled with many gods, none of which can save the human race. We, the people of the only true God, must get God out of the bargain basement and elevate Him in our lives, our homes, and our weekly places of worship.
Who wants to fall in love with “Sunshine”? No, beloved, but I certainly can swoon and blush at the thought of creation’s Creator fighting and conquering all enemies just to win me for His Bride! And to think He’s coming for me—any day now!—makes me want to be ready and clear-headed.
Though I’m dark You say I am lovely
Though I’m poor You say I am beautiful
Somehow my weakness has overwhelmed You
Somehow my weak glance has stolen away Your heart
That’s reason and motivation enough, wouldn’t you say? Oh, and if you catch me napping, remind me of these things. And if I look like I’m in a fog, do me a favor and slap some sense into me.