It’s an interesting question you know. What if we actually allowed God to speak into our lives? I mean really speak- allowed Him to call us out, to convict us when we were wrong. We don’t like being wrong, have you noticed? We don’t like the idea that what we are doing or saying is not correct, and it gets worse the older we get. At least when we are younger, we can claim some level of naivety. As we get older, though, we are supposed to be experienced….wise….knowledgeable. That is definitely true to a certain extent. Between my wife and I we have 5 college degrees, yet when our first son started crying and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong, we called our parents who do not have college degrees. What they do have is a lot of wisdom and experience that we do not and it’s valuable. But, I think we all too often make the mistake of thinking that we are done learning, done growing- especially when it comes to our spiritual walk.
Today, let me be blunt to the believer and say what many don’t want hear. WE ARE NOT DONE! We haven’t figured it out yet. God is still working on us, in us, and through us. We haven’t graduated to Christian Emeritus. We are still on a journey of growing and being sanctified. and we need to come to grips with the fact that our spiritual walk did not end at salvation and it will not be be over until God calls us home. The free gift of salvation is a lifelong process that will cost us a lot- mainly our pride.
The church (not the gospel) is in a desperate need of a reboot, a reboot that I alluded to in last week’s article (shameless plug- go read it). We have a unique opportunity to get ourselves back on track to following Christ, sacrificing our wants & our desires so that they would align with God’s wants & desires for our lives. That is going to require us to admit and face some very difficult things that are going to be damaging to our ego. So many people approach church with the mentality “what have you done for me lately.” While they would never say it out loud, their actions, their words to others, their attitude toward church is “I want to be entertained with good music that I like and am used to. I want to hear good preaching that is funny, light hearted, and make me feel good about myself afterwards. I want to be noticed and spoken to by the right people and if I can’t get that week in and week out, I’m leaving.” This is not a problem localized to any one area. This is the lament of pastors EVERYWHERE!!! I’ve seen it in so many places- this is not the mark of maturing Christians- it is well….to be honest, infantile.
As churches, we need to stop worrying about being culturally relevant and trendy and be more concerned about being biblically accurate. Sure, the culturally relevant church is usually big. It has a lot of members because it’s appealing. You can come and never have to worry about being offended by God’s Word. You never have to worry about feeling bad for your sinfulness. Repentance is only for the unsaved, right? You can catch young, hip worship and a youth group that will spend more time improving their dodgeball game on Wednesdays instead of their spiritual walk. [*Disclaimer: I am not throwing shade at every mega church. If you want to see a huge church do it right, check out The Village Church pastored by Matt Chandler in Houston- big church, great biblical preaching, no smoke and light shows, just truth.] But, what if we allowed God and not culture to speak into our lives. What if instead of church hopping to avoid dealing with our sin, we no longer become content with messages that tickle our ears? What if we adopted a very realistic view of our human condition and instead of getting offended, we decide to dig in and allow God to mold & shape us. So many of the same people who will complain about cancel culture, will bail on a church the moment God starts trying to shape them and deal with sin and pride in their lives. They often blame the pastor for not feeding them when in truth, they just didn’t care for what was on the menu- His truth. The gospel is a message of exoneration in the fact that, thanks to Christ, we do not have to pay the price for our sins. It is not a message that we get to do whatever we want after we accept Christ because we no longer have responsibility. The gospel is a message of hope, but also one of transformation. Jesus loves us way too much to leave us where we are. If we expect to encounter God’s Word without being convicted, then we don’t have a realistic view of our own sinfulness and need to for that very gospel. The bible is convicting because we are sinners. We need to swallow our pride, allow God to speak truth into our lives, and acknowledge who we are- sinners saved by grace. In fact, if you think about it, if we do not have a desire for the bible to correct us (which means biblical preaching) then we are failing to acknowledge the need for a Savior.
Christians, let’s swallow our pride, admit that we are sinners in need of God’s constant love and correction, and join together on a journey of sanctification as we grow in Christ and become mature disciples instead of lifelong spiritual infants.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach