Tall Trees – Shallow Roots :: By Lea Sylvester

Christians in America must have an eternal perspective. That is what we must have! Some might say, “oh, you’re so heavenly-minded that you’re no earthly good…” That is one of the biggest lies hell ever produced. It’s been the most heavenly-minded men (and women) on this earth who did the most.

To begin with, the Captain of our Salvation, Jesus Christ, was always beholding the Father. He was always in communion with Him. He was always thinking heavenly thoughts. We have a type of arrogance here in the United States (as “Christians”) that we think we’ve really got this “Christianity-thing” down. But, the fact of the matter is, the greatest works of God today and some of the greatest preachers and teachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ who’ve ever lived are in places most of us couldn’t find on a map. They will never be best-selling authors, they aren’t life coaches and they don’t care if those who go to hear them have good self-esteem. They don’t lay awake at night worrying if their flock has 30 or 60 or 90 or even 100 purposeful days.

These men of God live in huts, preach in buildings with dirt floors and roofs made of banana leaves. J.R. Packer, a great evangelist, was once asked who he thought the greatest preacher alive at that time was. He said, “You don’t know him because he’s probably preaching in a village somewhere, in some isolated place in a world far away…”

It may be difficult for some to read this but so many in America say they are Christians; but they don’t act like Christians. In fact, they act more like the world, they smell more like the world, they do things like the world. They may not be Christians at all.

As Americans, our “theology” is 3,000 miles wide and ½ of an inch deep. America is ignorant to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have taken the Gospel and have reduced it down to five things God may want “you” to know. For example:

We may ask, “would you like to go to heaven?” If the person responds with “yes,” we say, “would you like to pray this prayer after me?” If they say “yes,” we get them to say a prayer and then we declare them to be saved.

The true Gospel is NOT “do you recognize you’re a sinner?” The TRUE Gospel is since you have heard Gospel preaching, has God done such a supernatural work in your heart through the Holy Spirit that now you hate the sin you once loved? The question is not “do you want to go to heaven?” The devil wants to go to heaven! Everyone wants to go to heaven! They just don’t want God to be there when they arrive.

So, the question is “has God done such a supernatural work of conversion, regeneration in your heart that the God you have hated and ignored, you now esteem, love and seek? It’s not, “do you want to pray a prayer?” Jesus never walked up to anybody and said, “The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand; now would you like to open up your heart and receive me?” He comes to men in the same way John came to men. John came to Israel preaching repentance. The first words out of Jesus’ mouth were, “Repent!” Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, admonished those there saying, “Repent!”

In America, we think we can manipulate a move of God. That we can coerce people into being “saved.” That’s absolutely impossible. Man is a spiritually dead, God-hating enemy. In order for that spiritually dead man to respond to the Gospel call, its going to take a lot more than manipulation. It takes the supernatural, recreating, regeneration work of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ is our Savior and our King. He is worthy of our worship. So many people think, “I don’t need God.” Some people may even think, “I don’t think I need God, but it wouldn’t hurt to add Him to the list of things I have…” as if God is a “cherry on top of their world.”

But without Jesus, our lives are nothing more than a pile of manure in God’s eyes. We’ve got to realize that we live in a country that absorbs things like truth, redefines it, and has its own version of it. But, in that, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is lost. The fact of the matter is, we are never going to advance the Kingdom of God by being politically correct. If we love people, we’re going to tell them the truth, even if they hate us.

When I hear a preacher tell a group that “you’ve got a wonderful house, a fine job, a beautiful wife/great husband, 1.5 kids, you’ve got it all…you just need Jesus” that makes me sick. Why? Because if they/we don’t have Jesus Christ, we have absolutely nothing.

For anyone who happens to be surfing the ‘net, reads this and isn’t a Christian, you may say, “What do you mean? I love my house. I love my beautiful wife/great husband. I love my Mercedes Benz. I love my 1.5 kids. I love my job. My life is NOT a pile of manure, who are YOU to say that amounts to nothing? How can you say that, in whose eyes?” In God’s eyes!

There are two types of people. One type is someone who is so deluded, they don’t/can’t feel their misery. Then, there’s the person who says they have all those things but still feel absolutely miserable. Recognizing the misery is a blessing from God. That “misery” is God screaming at them to see that “things” are worthless and the only need they have is Jesus Christ.

Why should that person in a remote village or in the Sudan become a Christian? What will it get them other than perhaps having their head cut off? They will get the same thing an American Christian ought to. All men are the same. When a person is invited to Christ, or called to Christ, they get two things God has promised all. He has promised eternal life and a cross. They go together. To the true believer, that is a blessed thing.

We think we can put up a media screen, do all kinds of things, have a few movies and somehow emotionally manipulate people into the Kingdom of God. That is not true. When we try to do that, we are no longer going to see the power of the Holy Spirit.

All God is asking for is a person who loves Him, with a Bible in his hand who will obey Him. Let that man preach in the town square until he is stoned to death or until someone is converted because God will bless that man for his obedience, love and unselfishness. Whatever God asks of us, when we obey Him, he blesses us.

We must, as Christians – true believers, trust in God for all things. Not just “some things” or when it is “convenient” for us to do so. We must seek holiness, walk in obedience to God, for He loves those who are His. We must separate ourselves from the world and keep our eyes on God. Be changed – truly changed. We need to be powerful in the secret places and with those who are closest to us. We must strive earnestly to please Jesus Christ. Let nothing come before God – nothing. In America, let us quit putting God in a “box” and let Him be God. We will see great things in our lives, in our families and in our nation when we do.

Direct comments to sylvester.lea@gmail.com