Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Many parts of the Church around the world have lived with restricted freedoms (in tight, cramped spaces), yet they have done and continue to do the work of the Church in secret. The Church in their parts of the world is flourishing and multiplying, even while its individual members are suffering and dying.
In this part of the world, we (the Church in the northwestern hemisphere) have historically had much freedom to worship and serve as we felt God was leading us, living in wide open spaces. But the Church here is dying a slow death. Could it be that we have compartmentalized our faith to our Savior to one day of the week? Are we serving without charity? Could it be that we relied on “professional clergy” to serve us spiritual food and stand in the public arena to fight in and defend the expansive spaces so we wouldn’t have to? Could it be that we have lost our ability to battle the way He calls us to battle?
We find ourselves in ever-tightening spaces around us. There are increasing limits placed on our words and actions, especially when Truth differs from the beliefs fed to the masses. We must learn again to defend the open, wide spaces. They are disappearing quickly. And we must learn to fight in the narrow, tight spaces as our brothers and sisters have done. We can no longer let others do the work we are called to do and we can no longer simply let things be for the sake of what we mistakenly call “peace.” We must relearn what it means to follow Christ and to live as He did. We are in a battle, but it is not the one we see with our eyes and it requires the battlegear given by our Commander. That gear starts with an undivided heart, eyes that see clearly, and ears that discern what the Spirit is saying.
Heavenly Father, Teach us to be the Church you called us to be – individually and corporately. Make me, make us, wise enough to listen to Your voice before we speak or act. Turn my heart, our hearts toward you. Make me, make us, bold enough to be humble when we we must speak, generous enough to share what You have given and brave enough to be obedient to Your plan, passionate enough to step into the gaps You reveal and loving enough to hold out a helping hand to those who cannot see their way. All the while help us keep our eyes wide open and our ears tuned to Your voice. In Jesus’ name, we ask.