[anzac] QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE

Message: < previous - next > : Reply : Subscribe : Cleanse
Home   : June 2009 : Group Archive : Group : All Groups

From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 14:59:57 +0100
THE QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE
-by David Ryser.

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school 
of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly 
searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with 
Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across 
a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short 
version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: 

Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece 
and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; 
it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and 
became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 
years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand 
and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, 
"An enterprise. That's a business." After a few moments Martha, 
the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not 
imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was 
self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, 
I acknowledged Martha's raised hand, "Yes, Martha." She asked 
such a simple question, "A business? But isn't it supposed to be 
a body?" I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, 
and the only response I could think of was, "Yes." She continued, 
"But when a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?"

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or 
spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the 
presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were 
on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, 
"Wow, I wish I'd thought of that." I didn't dare express that thought 
aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha's question changed my life. For six months, I thought about 
her question at least once every day. "When a body becomes a 
business, isn't that a prostitute?" There is only one answer to her 
question. The answer is "Yes." The American Church, tragically, 
is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we 
love Him? We don't even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

... I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not 
know God--much less love Him. The root of this condition originates 
in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what 
we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would 
bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him 
for His money, and we don't care if He lives or dies as long as we 
can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, 
merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded 
to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ--that's pretty 
intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love 
someone we don't even know? And even if we do know someone, 
is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or 
prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha's question again one day, and considered 
the question, "What's the difference between a lover and a prostitute?"  
I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does 
what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but 
only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, "What would 
happen if God stopped paying me?"

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover 
my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of 
God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He 
never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please 
understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The 
issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is 
the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings 
in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have 
earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any 
conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. 
Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by 
my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed 
with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in 
my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, 
but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? 
There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for 
that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both 
places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no 
substitute or unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I 
mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another 
look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

-Dr. David Ryser.