Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity


Once You’re Awake — Now What?

posted by Carolyn Henderson
Cadence original oil painting of woman walking on the beach by Steve Henderson

Once you’re awake, you start walking, and once you start walking, you get to a better place. Cadence, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas, iCanvasART, and Framed Canvas Art.

The other day, I found myself in the middle of a church picnic.

It was totally unintentional, and I’ll tell you the story someday, but the upshot is, I was chatting with a safe woman from the group, when I tossed out my usual question to determine whether or not a person is awake:

“So, do you completely believe and unquestioningly accept the government’s official version about 9/11?”

“Oh, no,” she replied without hesitation, then stopped, troubled. “It’s disturbing to think about the ramifications.”

Well, that’s an understatement, but at least I could see that her eyes were open.

But then she went on to a statement that I hear on a regular basis:

“I’m Overwhelmed”

“There’s just so much going on, and we don’t seem to have any power to stop any of it. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t see any value of being awake.”

That’s a valid statement, and I sympathize with the feeling of being overwhelmed.

But, in the first place, when you’re sound asleep and someone creeps into your bedroom with a knife, you have little chance of defending yourself at all. When you’re awake, however, and aware, you can deflect the blow, if not get in a good kick and a yell to arouse the rest of the house.

And in the second place, which is really the first place, as Christians, we are supposed to be awake at all times, living as servants —  and simultaneously beloved children — in the house of a powerful Master:

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him,” Jesus tells us in Luke 12: 35-36.

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.”

Watching, and Waiting

What does it mean, this watching?

In an earlier post, Are You Awake? I described the most notable aspect of being awake as recognizing that mankind, and all of his systems, are corrupt, debauched, depraved, untrustworthy, deceitful and perfidious. “Full of sin” if you’re looking for nine letters to fill in your crossword puzzle.

Brimming Over original oil painting of woman on the beach by Steve Henderson

Getting angry is generally our first option, but sometimes, when you look at the absurdity of people’s actions when they are steeped in sin, you have to laugh it off. Brimming Over, original painting by Steve Henderson, sold; licensed open edition prints at Great Big Canvas and Framed Canvas Art.

So Step One is no longer being fooled by the things you are told.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words,” Ephesians 5: 6 says.

Seek Truth

Step Two is finding words you actually can believe, which is anything that proceeds from the mouth of God. He wrote a Book, and much of what it says goes counter to the ways that we have been taught. The Beatitudes alone, in Matthew 5: 3-12, are the complete and total opposite of the corporate business model which, quite unfortunately, has infected every aspect of our culture, including too many of our churches (they have boards, and meetings, and small group functions, and digital bulletin boards in the foyer, and PowerPoint presentations; and they are concerned with numbers, and cash flow, and attracting the “right” kind of  congregant, and the impression that they make upon the “outside community.”)

Following God means that we turn around in the sheep chute that is directing us, the masses, in one direction, and we walk against the flow of humanity. From a networking standpoint, it makes absolutely no sense to seek out the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame (Luke 14: 13) because they can’t pay us back like our friends, our relatives, or our rich neighbors, but Jesus’ business model is an odd one. Somehow, it works — but not in accordance with the way of the world.

Pray

Step 3 — pray, all the time, every day, and ask God what He would have you to do to battle the evil in this world and in this age:

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

“Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6: 11-12)

You may not see the importance in the things He asks you to do, but continue to ask, and listen, and obey.

Don’t Give up

Finally, do not give in to despair — take heart! Jesus has overcome the world (John 16: 33), and you belong to Him.

“Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” (Isaiah 8: 12-14)

“The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary.”

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I write because this is one of the options God has set before me. Believe me, some days I feel like giving up, but I can’t, because there are things to be said, and not a lot of people are saying them.

Posts similar to this one are

Are You Awake?

Sleeping Christians: Wake. Up.

The Misfit Christian (my book, written for believers who feel like they don’t fit into the system)

 

 

 

 

 



  • Pingback: Letting Satan Win - Commonsense Christianity

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Jennifer — I also spend much time praying for those I love, and it’s easy to forget the larger world around us.

    But that world is imposing itself so forcibly upon us, and our beloved family and friends, that we can’t ignore it. The first reaction is to feel overwhelmed, and the best thing to do with that sense of being overwhelmed is give it to God and ask Him what He would have us to do.

    There is great comfort to know that while the problems are big, and the people causing them are evil indeed, God is SO much bigger than the problem, and He is in ultimate control of it all.

  • http://www.thedeliberatemom.com/ Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Wow and WOW! I think God has brought you into my life to help me dig deeper.

    You know what occurred to me as I read this? I never pray to seek truth about what’s happening in the world. My prayers are for my family, my friends, my community… but I hardly ever pray about the news I read/hear.

    Thank you once again for providing such thought-provoking inspiration (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

  • Pingback: Will We Ever Say Good-bye to the Vietnam War? - Commonsense Christianity

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Mrs Boggan — thank you, very much, for your encouragement. It’s a message that some people are desperate to hear, but others recoil from — we must cultivate a strong, individual relationship with Christ; talk to Him daily, and be poised to do whatever it is He calls us to do.

    What the Bible says is fascinating — and the more we read it, steep ourselves in it like tea, the more the truth is drawn out and infused into our lives. We simply can’t get that by a once-weekly sermon and a mid-week small group, tightly led and controlled. We read, and pray, and wrestle with God as Jacob did: “What does this mean? Do You really mean that? Where am I missing something?” How amazing that He answers us! In what other relationship, in what other religious capacity, is the individual so precious to His Creator?

    I pray rich blessings to you on your newly embarked journey. Christ will lead you to mighty and beautiful places — even on those days when it feels like you’re stuck in the kitchen with dirty dishes — and a humble, contrite, willing heart is of far greater value than a lifeless rock of a diamond.

  • MrsBoggan .

    Dear Carolyn – I hope and pray that you will always be here sending out your honest, no nonsense messages. I rely on your articles they have made this (brand new) Christian think about the way I am going to receive information and has made me very interested in what the actual bible says and what I (I!!) think of it.

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    As you say, extremely hard to do, Melissa, by virtue of its very simplicity. As someone mentioned to me recently, It’s not what we want to do for God that matters, but what He wants us to do for Him. Wow. How can two sentences with essentially the same words but just a couple different, be so very, very at variance with one another?

  • http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonsensechristianity/ Carolyn Henderson

    Thank you, Karin. Ultimately, that is all we can do, and it is the very best thing to do – because God is all powerful and all knowing, and He’s the only one with every piece of the puzzle. It’s far too easy to get overwhelmed and shut ourselves down without setting it before God, and thinking, somehow, that if we can’t think of a solution, then there is no solution to be thought of.

  • http://www.aboundingwisdom.com/ Karin Peavy

    Carolyn, this is a wonderful article! As one of my Facebook fans just recently posted, often we Christians are not as aggressive in our faith as we should be. We are too comfortable. I like your suggestion to pray and ask God on how we each individually can combat evil. I already have. God bless you as you continue to write.

  • Melissa Strong

    Great post! Seek truth, pray, dont give up. So simple, so true yet hard to do. Let us live moment by moment and do these things!

  • Pingback: Frozen by Fear — What Do We Do? | This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

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