Jesus made an amazing offer to a church in Laodicea:
Behold! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Rev 3v20
He’s not standing there with an expensive gift in his hand, HE is the gift! The eternal Son of God, Creator of the world, Saviour and Lord, risen and reigning King, offers to give himself to the church (and to us). Doesn’t that sound incredible and exciting? Doesn’t that seem like we have been made an offer which should be life changing for us?
So the question we then find ourselves asking is this, ‘how do we open the door (of our hearts and lives) to Jesus?’ What do we do? And we shudder when the age old answer comes back, ‘read His word, pray, live in obedience to the Spirit, love and trust Him’. We may well already be starting to draw comparisons in our minds of what we would really prefer to do:
Read the bible or … watch a film?
Pray or … go through Facebook (twitter, instagram, snapchat, tiktok)?
Live in obedience or … just go with where our desires take us through the day?
Suddenly, Jesus isn’t exciting our hearts as much as the prospect of the latest crime series on Netflix anymore. Suddenly, Jesus seems more like medicine to us - important to take because we’re sick, but not the best tasting!
This generation of church, more than any, can be considered the entertainment generation.
Church has never been so exciting: charismatic (little c) preachers, cool bands, light-shows, upbeat music. It has a greater appeal than ever to a culture that looks for a similar buzz. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not heading towards a recommendation for the reintroduction of the organ or for cool young people to be barred from the platform - I would ban flags and creative dance though :)
No, my point is this.
There is a danger in us wanting to receive Jesus in the same way we receive entertainment in our lives.
We live in a fast fix, fast food society and we seem, equally, to be wanting Jesus to become to us fast food and an instant fix, and if he isn’t, well, we’ll just fill our lives instead with better entertainment.
Our understanding of the work of the Spirit in bringing Jesus to us is all wrong.
Jesus says to us, ‘I am offering you myself’ and our hearts reply, ‘I’m more excited that the football is on tonight’.
Jesus is food for our souls, but not fast food. He’s more … gourmet (if that doesn’t sound irreverent).
We are trying to make Jesus fast food - we want our prayer times to be exciting, we want our bible reading to result in amazement and joy all the time, and we want to get it all into a 2 minute bible verse fix of the day kindly sent to our inbox by YouVersion. But the spiritual food that Jesus gives us isn’t anything like fast food. We are trying to entertain our souls and are putting Jesus in the same category as physical entertainment. Gourmet food takes more time to prepare, it’s more effort, but it is more deeply satisfying and generally more nutritious.
Let me say it simply:
“Stop trying to entertain your soul.”
Your soul will be satisfied with prayer and meditation on his word and obedience throughout the day. You may sometimes have a 'blinding' time in the word and in prayer, but you may not, and that’s ok, really! But let me tell you this, you feed your soul with Jesus in the right way and you will gradually find that you are being satisfied at a deeper and more lasting level. You will feel more alive than ever, you will begin to find yourself loving Jesus more and more, becoming more like Him. You will still enjoy entertainment on a physical level, especially if you watch Liverpool play ;) but your soul will also feel alive; and that’s way more important to your joy, it really is. At the moment you and I may well be killing our souls by trying to fill them with fast food Jesus and then feeling the burden of failing over and over again.
You simply have to spend time in the word and in prayer and then you need to be obedient to the Spirit throughout the day. Stop falling for the devil’s ploys when he tells you there are more entertaining things to do. Of course there are!