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Going Through the Motions

Going Through the Motions

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Published by: Rev. J. Patrick Bowman on Jun 14, 2011
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Going Through the MotionsBy Rev. J. Patrick Bowman
I don’t want to spend my whole life askin,’“What if I had given everything,instead of going through the motions?”
by Jason Houser, Matthew West, Sam Mizell,and performed by Matthew West 
The above lyrics, performed so skillfully by contemporary Christian artist Matthew West, describe acondition so prevalent in the church today that a great percentage should also be asking “What if I hadgiven everything instead of going through the motions?”, but fail to do so because of the answers theymight have to make their own.The above portrays a person lamenting the time and energy required to account for living a half-heartedChristian life and feeling the personal dissatisfaction associated with it. The following scripture, Revelation3:14-22, tells of God’s displeasure with those in the faith who give only a token “performance” in servingthe Lord.And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, thefaithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou artneither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, andneither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, andincreased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, andmiserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, thatthou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and
the shame of thynakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As manyas I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, andknock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I alsoovercame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear whatthe Spirit saith unto the churches.(Rev 3:14-22 KJV)You will first notice the knowing of God followed by the wish of God. Being lukewarm in one’s works, or exercise of faith, is a dangerous place to be. To be spit from one’s mouth is harsh language indicative of expelling a “bad taste,” something undesirable to keep. God would rather you do no works at all, and becold, than to give a partial effort, and be lukewarm. Acknowledgment of sin and repentance bring back thefervor of giving everything, not just going through the motions.As the parent of two children, it was far more important the effort put into a project than the actualoutcome. I was just as proud of a “C” accomplished using 100% effort as an “A” received with a lazyattitude. Many we would call the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, as well as those we know personally,have given their best effort in seeing their destinies realized. Joshua and Caleb showed such resolve asthey faced a nation of naysayers, as chronicled in Numbers 13:25-14:10.And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses,and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to
Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them thefruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, andsurely it floweth with milk and honey; and this
the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people
strongthat dwell in the land, and the cities
very great: and moreover we saw the childrenof Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites,and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coastof Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, andpossess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be notable to go up against the people; for they
stronger than we. And they brought up an evil reportof the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through whichwe have gone to search it,
a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people thatwe saw in it
men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak,
of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And allthe children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregationsaid unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died inthis wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, thatour wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? Andthey said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses andAaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. AndJoshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh,
which were
of them that searched theland, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, Theland, which we passed through to search it,
an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us,then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Onlyrebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they
bread for us:their defence is departed from them, and the LORD
with us: fear them not. But all thecongregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in thetabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.(Num 13:25-14:10 KJV)We know from the story that because of their unbelief, the entire nation of Israel spent 40 years in thewilderness until that entire generation died off. Only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter thePromised Land. The reward for their faithfulness to God was great. The judgment for the entire nation’sunbelief and lukewarm inspired grumbling was severe.God next mentions a false sense of security as a reason to chastise the Laodicean church. This is alsobrought forth in the parable of the foolish man in the 12
chapter of the Gospel of Luke.And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forthplentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room whereto bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; andthere will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast muchgoods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink,
be merry. But God said unto him,
fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, whichthou hast provided? So
he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.(Luke 12:16-21 KJV)The giving of all has to be rich toward God, not man’s greed or glory. Solomon reiterated this fact manytimes in his writings. The folly of anxiety over acquiring things instead of seeking first the Kingdom of Godand His righteousness is expressed by Jesus in Matthew 6.No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he willhold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say untoyou, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body,what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowlsof the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father 

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