The Ordinary Way
Students lingered at the chapel on February 8, 2023, after the Wednesday evening service at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. I understand that some of the students were convicted by the sermon and wanted to continue praying and singing. And they kept on praying and singing. For weeks they continued the service, nonstop, with people coming and going. In the age of social media, the story went viral and made international news. People traveled from all over to attend just a few minutes of the service. A lot of people have differing opinions about what happened. Time will tell. I won’t give my hot take on the situation, or my cold take, now that all the excitement is over.
Christians want to go deeper in their faith. We want to love Jesus more. We want to pray more and pray more fervently. We want to experience the blessings of God. Everyone knows the experience of waking up on Sunday and facing the temptation to roll over and go back to sleep. Then you see these people praying and singing all through the night, and you long for something you feel you are missing. We read stories about times in the past when whole communities were saved. Hundreds of people came to saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and church members fired up and put the Lord first in their lives. And who wouldn’t want that? When Asbury comes along, people want to experience that and maybe “catch the fire.”
The desire is good, but there is also the danger of looking for shortcuts and “get holy quick” schemes. Your life isn’t what you want it to be, so you go to a service where there is revival, and BAM, you level up and are endued with spiritual power, love, and producing fruit in abundance. Can that happen? Absolutely. But that is not the usual way that Christians grow. We grow like little children (1 Peter 2:2) desiring the Word. We grow in good works and knowledge of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:3). We grow through the preaching and teaching ministry of the local church (Ephesians 4:11-16) We grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). Notice a theme? That’s not to mention the example of the Apostles praying for the churches and the call for churches to pray for one another. And love one another, care for one another, have compassion on one another, and encourage and lift one another up. This is the normal, ordinary way of growth and sanctification. We are prone to look for shortcuts to get us to where we serve and love the Lord with great zeal. But in reality, loving the Lord and loving one another, coming to the house of God on the Lord’s Day, praying, hearing the Word of God, and fellowship of the saints is how the Lord strengthens us. The Lord will sanctify His people. Trust Him and the ordinary way He gave us.
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