The church is given over to her own devices. If the Holy Spirit were allowed to do His work of convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment to come, I am convinced that before very long He would be unwelcome in our churches and among the people of God. Today, the church relies upon pulpit personality, personal talent, promotions, and the power of the flesh to accomplish its goals. We’ve left off real praying. I don’t mean the calm listing of requests and the courteous giving of proper thanks, but honest, broken-hearted, burdened, fervent prayer that finds utterance difficult! Why do we insist on leaving God out of the equation? If this is the work of God, why don’t we avail ourselves to the resources he makes available to us so that we might experience real spiritual results? Why are we content to shortchange ourselves and settle for what we can accomplish in the flesh without God? The power of God is real and it’s free for the claiming. Not unlike the rest of Christianity, this too is a paradox.  The power of God is free but comes at a great cost. The cost is time. The cost is a repentant heart and a broken spirit over our own sin. The cost is putting away our own carnality and worldliness. The cost is to loosen the stakes to the world and its sinful pleasures while setting our sights on eternity and our affections on spiritual things. The cost is tears. The cost is importunity. The cost is a true and honest desire and hunger for God himself. The cost is a burden for lost souls. The cost is to be a consistent and verbal witness for Christ. The cost is to preach the word of God regardless of the repercussions. The cost is to deal with the obvious sin in the church. The cost is to stop trying so desperately hard to be liked in our communities and concern ourselves more with preaching the truth even if it means being disliked! The cost is preaching more than comfortable truth. It’s a high price to pay, but if we are going to have the hand of God on our lives and on our churches, we must give Him conduits through which to flow. We must give him holy vessels to use as dispensers of his Holy Word. In a word, we must daily bear the cross of Christ.