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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace

 

Halfway Hannah

 

 

Do you know her?

 

Hannah seems to truly love Jesus. She volunteers for many service opportunities. She teaches a Sunday School class and even offers to fill in for those who are absent. She sings in the choir. She knows everybody's business.

 

You see, she's known most of the people in her church fellowship since she was a small child. The church hasn't changed much over the years. And Hannah spends a lot of time there.

 

Sadly enough, Hannah is so busy with her church responsibilities that her heart and her family have suffered. Her children see her getting stressed out with her busy schedule. They don't respect her. They don't really share her faith nor do they understand her devotion. After all, she has no joy.

 

And Hannah is so busy that her husband is just fed up. He wishes she would just quit going to church -- he doesn't get what's so great about it. He has never taken the time to get to know God. Why would he want to? Hannah is so busy and stressed in her own church work, and she complains about the church so often (especially about that new pastor), that it doesn't seem like a fun place to him. And Sunday is his only day off, after all…

 

But Hannah would never quit her church! Oh, it's true -- she complains a lot, and she doesn't like the new pastor, but her friends are there. She has many memories there. It is her social club…her identity!

 

If only Christ could be her identity.

 

It seems that Hannah doesn't understand that love and service to Christ must involve a heart of devotion -- not devotion to a building, though. A devotion to Christ Himself.

 

It's true -- Hannah'scommitment is "on again off again." She is halfway in the church, and halfway out. Why? She has a heart problem.

 

You see, though her parents brought her faithfully to church as a child, and though she still attends regularly, she never really fully embraced the message of the Gospel.

 

Sure, she knows most of the Bible stories -- the popular ones, anyway -- she even teaches them to the children and youth of the church. But why study the Bible? What's that going to accomplish? She doesn't want to be some Bible scholar or preacher.

 

Hannah doesn't realize that the Word is a Treasure -- one to be found and unlocked and read, devoured, ingested for the answers to life.

 

So, if she doesn't know God's Word very well, what does she do when she has a problem?

 

Oh, she stews. She complains. She stops going to church for awhile. "I just need a break until I can figure this out!" she says.

 

Her Sunday school class doesn't get taught, at least not well. Even if she comes to teach, she is late…her heart is only "halfway" committed. Her students don't learn anything except superficial faith and conditional commitment. And they hear her many complaints spewing from her unhappy, uncommitted heart.

 

Many times her ministry obligations fall by the wayside, and other church members are left shouldering Hannah's responsibilities until Hannah feels like coming back to church.

 

Hannah's "other self" hops around in the world for awhile until her problems fade a little, until she feels like seeing her old church buddies again, until she decides to set her alarm and actually get up for church.

 

It seems that Hannah's problems just rule her spiritual life.

 

Hannah will tell you that her true disgust with the church began when that new pastor came to town. There was nothing "halfway" about him! At first his sermons intrigued Hannah, causing her to hunger for more. Everything about him was different, strange even!

 

But then, he began to make her angry. How dare he come in to her church, the only church she had ever been a member of, and make so many changes? Why did he think he had the right to suggest that her heart wasn't fully committed to the things of God? Oh, he didn't actually come out and tell Hannah that personally, but she could hear the insinuations in his sermons! Surely he was looking right at her when he preached! And it made Hannah mad and uncomfortable. How dare he!

 

New people began coming into Hannah's church -- people that met God for the very first time -- people who had experienced God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness. People who had torn down their own walls of pride so that they could meet Him…not halfway…but completely, all the way. Hannah thought they were odd…too intense about God. She and her "church buddies" didn't welcome them into their fellowship…of course not! Hannah even resented them for taking up space in her church building -- sitting in her chairs, having opinions, existing.

 

And the last straw? It was prayer. Oh, Hannah liked to pray, you understand, before meals...but this new pastor was just too serious about it. Praying so seriously in church was uncomfortable, invasive, intimidating. You'd think he wanted to come into the church and change everything! Praying so intently in church…how weird!

 

So, slowly, Hannah was beginning to see changes in her church…her church! Why did things have to change!? She liked the "Halfway House" that it had become. It had been full of people like her! But now, things were just different. Either her friends were leaving, or becoming more serious about God.

 

Oh, Hannah…where have you been? What have you learned all those years in church? Of course you know Christ died for you…but do you know why? Do you know that He loves you so much that He suffered and chose a horrible death to give you a chance at life…at deep abiding life and worship and fellowship and prayer to the Father?

 

Of course there are problems in this world. Who doesn't have them? But the Father wants to use your problems for the building up of His Kingdom! Don't you know? Rescue is not always escape from your problems. Rescue involves peace in the midst of the storm. Do you know that peace?

 

God's commitment in your life must be…well, it must be true and daily. It is consistent, life-changing! It is wise, peaceful, and growing.

 

Where is God's commitment in your life?

 

Where is His joy, His humility, His compassion? His power?

 

Do you realize that the Lord Jesus is the only one who can stand in a graveyard, call the names of the dead, and they will respond to Him? Can you do that? Will all of your efforts accomplish that?

 

No! He is a God of power! He longs to pour out that power, into your life, into your problems, into your family, into your ministries! Oh, your life could be so different!

 

If you were truly His…

 

Are you truly His? Do you want to be?

 

No more Halfway Hannah.

 

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
So because you are lukewarm
--neither hot nor cold--
I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:15-16

 


The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God,
for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them,
because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 2:14





 

 

 

Copyright © 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com




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