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Most people who have been around church for any length of time know what it means to be hyped up for God. They have been to meetings and retreats that get their emotions all stirred up, and they leave hoping to stay stirred up. When they discover that their excitement has waned, looking for the next chance to get the "spiritual good bumps" becomes the focus of their spiritual life.

Going from highs to lows is not what a normal Christian life is supposed to be about. It is not about whether you are stirred up or not. The Bible says that Jesus came that we "...may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). He did not come to stir us up emotionally, but to give us life.

Christians ought to be the most alive people you have ever met in your life.
- Ron Luce
How can you tell if you have that real life inside of you? There are a lot of people who are walking around with living bodies on the outside, but they are dead on the inside. They are walking dead people... the "living dead." They are dry on the inside - lonely, empty, weary, and spiritually tired.

Of course, we know people who have never given their life to the Lord are just like this. They act like they are living, but on the inside they are dead. The only way for their heart to "come alive" is by giving it to Jesus.

The problem is that a lot of people who have given their lives to Jesus still seem dry and dead. That is why they keep trying to get the emotional highs at events. An emotional high is just a substitute for the real life God wants to fill us with.

Christians ought to be the most alive people you have ever met in your life. When someone meets you and looks in your eyes, he ought to see something that is real inside of you. When he reaches out to shake your hand, he should be grabbing hold of something that is really living.

As Christians, we have been forgiven. Our heart is clean. He has given us a future. Our past is forgotten. We are sons and daughters of God! We can hear His voice! We are not dead anymore.

We realize that to live a pure and holy life gives us real life. We can live this life because His power lives inside us! The question is, do you have this kind of life inside of you?

Here are a few ways to check your spiritual barometer to see if you are alive:

Are Your Roots Deep?
We know from the parable of the sower (Matt. 13) that our roots must be deep if we want to stay alive. If you want your tree to grow (your spiritual tree), you have to have deep roots in the Lord.

A tree must have at least one deep tap root to keep the water coming to the rest of its branches. If it does not, at times of drought, the tree will die. The same is true for you. Your roots must be deep in God's Word so that when you don't have those "hype times", you will have life in you.

How do you get deep roots? By putting the Word of God in your heart and mind. "Blessed is the man (whose)...delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water..." (Psa. 1:1-3).

If you meditate on God's Word, He will give you real life in your heart. You can't completely understand it with your mind. But the truth is, when you get His Word in your mind, and you meditate on it like a cow chews his cud, He gives you an unending burst of life!

It is time to get serious about reading the Bible. Every single day, don't just read some - memorize some of what you read! Take one Scripture and chew on it all day long, every single day. What about reading through the whole Bible? Get serious about getting your roots deep in the Word, and you will constantly have real life.

Are You Nourished?
Some people eat all the time but are not healthy. They eat, but because they eat junk food, they are weak and sickly. Many Christians are like this. They go to church and even read their Bibles. But because they do not take seriously what they read, or what they hear, they are malnourished.

They think that because they do the activity, they will be healthy. They wonder why they keep falling so easily into sin and bad habits. They go through the spiritual activities but they don't have any spiritual life bursting in their heart.

One great way to get this spiritual nutrition is to fast. The idea is that you do not eat physically, but you do eat spiritually. In fact, you pig-out on God! A fast is really a feast! Jesus said in Matthew 6:16, "When you fast..." not if you fast. In other words He expects us to fast. It is a time of getting away from everything and everyone to get tight with God and let Him give you nutrients to live on.

Are You Reproducing?
You don't have to force an apple tree to give apples. It just does because it is a living apple tree. You do not have to trick it or beg it to give you apples. It does it naturally as it is alive. Anything that is alive reproduces. Have you reproduced the life of God inside you and given it to someone else? Are you bearing good fruit?

Some Christians try to convince you and make you feel obligated to share the Gospel with other people. But the fact is that if you really have that life burning inside you, you will not be able to keep it to yourself. Nobody should have to beg you to tell others about God. In fact, if you have this burning life, it will naturally come out, just as the apple trees naturally give apples. People should be asking you to shut up because you are talking so much about Him!

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit..." (John 15:5). If you are really alive, you will be bearing fruit and reaching others for Jesus.

Are Your Branches Dead?
The first thing that we can do to check our spiritual pulse is simply to check our branches. Look at your life and ask yourself, "Do I have any dead stuff on me?" The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23). That means that if there is any dead stuff in our life, then we must have let a little sin in there. Jesus said, "...My Father...cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" (John 15:1-2).

The way a farmer gets rid of dead branches on his vines is to cut them off. That is exactly how we get rid of sin in our life. We must cut it off. Sin kills you! It snuffs the vitality right out of your Christian life. We wonder why it is so hard to really hear from God.

When we let sin in, we let death in. We can go to church every week and read our Bible all the time, but if we let sin in we let death in. That is why so many go to church but still do not feel alive on the inside. Once you cut the dead branches off, you will feel the freedom of real forgiveness and real life!

How do you cut them off? Repent and ask forgiveness. Do not ever do it again. Think of every dead branch in your life right now. Take some time to ask God to forgive you. Ask Him to pour the life of His forgiveness into you now. Let us "go and sin no more," just like Jesus told the woman caught in her sin. Let us be the ones who show this world what real life is all about. You should be the most alive person that anyone has ever met... begin NOW!

Source: Quit Playing With Fire by Ron Luce.
Excerpt permission granted by New Leaf Press, Inc.

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
Ron Luce was the co-founder and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise young people who would change the world.

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