Last week, as our group took part in an amazing week at M-Fuge Camp in Nashville, I was overwhelmed with one question: How do we take this camp experience home with us? I know for me, and I know the same is true for most of you, that I have had a number of mountain top experiences in my walk with Christ while at a Christian camp or retreat. The problem is, I can’t honestly remember one time that the experience resulted in true, lasting life change upon my return home. So, as I watched our students, leaders, and even myslef experience a revival, so to speak, I couldn’t help but pray that this time would be different.
So, I have tried to come up with a couple of tips to help us all transform the feelings we had at camp into life-changing action here at home. Well, instead of multiple tips, I had to once again return to what I believe is the most fundamental verse in all of Scripture…the Great Commandment. In order to bring about any lifechange resulting from an emotional experience or conviction, it must all begin in the heart. If you’ve heard me speak, you’ve heard this a thousand times, but I simply cannot overemphasize its importance in our walk with Jesus.
In order to love the Lord our God with all of our Heart, Mind and Soul, we must put Him at the center of our lives, which all of those things make up. Remembering that whatever sits at the center of those things naturally plays out through our thoughts, actions and emotions, we understand that only then will that emotion yield fruit that will edify the Kingdom.
The problem is, most of the time that emotional experience and/or conviction prompts us to simply commit to “trying harder” for Jesus. We must remember that we can never live for Jesus on our own, no matter how hard we try. The truth is, we as Christians spend too much time trying to ‘fix’ our thoughts, actions and emotions, and not nearly enough time on surrendering and building our relationship with Jesus. Only through surrender can we come to know the power of the Holy Spirit and see Jesus do things through us that accomplish His task for our lives. If we simply try harder to walk as Jesus, we will simply fail and adopt an attitude of defeat.
So, once again, that’s the answer. I know…I wish there were a list of 5 things to do, too. But, when it’s all said and done, it begins with surrender. We must be willing to lay aside the things that hinder us from working for the Kingdom, build our relationship with Christ, and allow the Spirit to take charge of our lives. That’s what the whole daily picking up our cross thing is all about.
* Please be praying for our team as we depart for Hungary on Monday, July 23. We will be teaching English to students there and be looking for every opportunity to share the Gospel to anyone who is willing to hear. We will be returning on August 3. Please pray for my wife and daughter, in particularly, as I have never been away from either of them for that length of time. Thanks, and I look forward to sharing about our trip upon our return!