The church I pastor just ended a great series of revival services. People were challenged and encouraged, some made public decisions, many prayed at the altar for the first time in a long time (if ever), and some had their lives changed by placing their faith in Jesus. As the final service neared on Wednesday, many commented that they wished the services continued. One parent even texted that their child was upset when he realized Thursday afternoon that we were not having services!
When we have a powerful encounter with the Lord like many experienced this week, the following days seem like a let down. When you attend service on Sunday and it is back to the “normal,” it can be a bit disappointing. When I was in youth ministry, I called it the “church camp high,” when students would be fired up for Jesus until they returned home. I have found that this problem crosses all age groups.
We cannot stay on the high place forever. There was a time when Jesus was on the mountain with His disciples and they had this unique spiritual experience. When Jesus was getting ready to descend, they begged, “Could we just please stay here a little longer?”
Just like a drug addict after a night of injecting illegal substances, we want to experience the high forever, but it is not possible. The Bible is a parade of highs and lows, one right after the other. Daniel- very faithful to God, thrown into the lion’s den, but the lions did not eat him. Jonah- runs away from God, swallowed by a fish, the fish spits him out. Jesus- baptism, temptation in desert, began ministry, crucified, rose.
Exodus 32 is an account of when Moses literally (and figuratively) came down from a mountaintop experience. He had been in the presence of God to receive the Law, and when he descended, he discovered the people had built a golden calf to worship. We learn from this experience how to come off a spiritual high.
First, those around us are not affected. If everyone that you are around would have made the same commitment to God that you did, then it would be easy. But spiritual decisions are personal. The whole nation of Israel would have liked to have been with Moses on the mountain in the presence of God. However, it was a personal experience for Moses, their leader. While he was in the presence of God, they were not affected by it. Spiritual decisions are not like the flu or the common cold that is caught for someone blessing you with a sneeze!
Second, the sin around us should upset us. When Moses came down and saw what was happening, he was unhappy, to say the least. The tablets that contained the Law, written by the very hand of God, were thrown to the ground in disgust. Moses called for the people who were “for the Lord” to come to him, then sent them throughout the camp, killing about 3,000 people. While Moses’ response is not a normal response today, we should not put up with sin around us. If we do, we will fall into it before long.
Third, pray for the people around you. God told Moses that He was going to wipe these people off the face of the earth and make Moses into a “great nation.” God was going to give Moses more people to lead. Moses started talking to God about this and eventually God relented. When we see those around us who are still controlled by the sin that we committed to no longer follow, we need to ask God to work in their lives. Moses prayed that God would save all of these people, a whole nation, and we need to pray for those we are around us that are lost and others that are controlled by sin.
Last, continue to show that you have been with God. We must continue to live our life in such a way that it is evident we have been with God. This week, I saw people who were broken, repentant, and committed to change. I heard others speak about ways the Lord challenged them. Are those characteristics still evident?
Unique spiritual experiences end, but the effects of the encounter can continue.