Too often the modern church, particularly those of us in the West, run around like a bunch of immature teenagers. We are convinced that our way is the only right way. We know what we want, and we want it right now! Convinced that we know all there is to know, we pontificate and lead the masses astray. Paul admonished the church in Corinth that even though they had been instructed in the ways of Christ, they were still immature (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). It seems we’ve learned little in the 2,000 years since Paul wrote that letter; we are still like babes, selfish adolescents in His Kingdom.
Archives for February 2012
There’s been a debate raging among Christians for a long time about whether we are saved by faith or by works. On one side of the debate are those who say that we simply need to believe in Jesus and accept Him as Lord of our life. In the other camp are those that say we must earn our salvation by the things we do. I submit to you that the Biblical model is not a question of faith or works, but rather the combination of faith and works.
It’s easy to feel as if we are stuck in our lives. We have a burning desire to follow Jesus with all of our heart, but we keep getting tripped up along the way. Progress is hard to come by when you constantly take two steps back for every one you take forward. In other words, we have our moments but no momentum. As discouragement sets in, it blinds us to the opportunities that surround us every day. Instead of focusing on our failures, we need to recognize the times in our life when we are walking in step with Christ and learn to turn those moments into momentum for tomorrow.
One of the most common reasons I hear from people for not following Christ is that God could never use someone like them because of what they had done in their lives. They think they are unworthy and unlovable, unacceptable by a holy God. They may indeed battle with feelings of inadequacy, but I submit that all of the above is really just a convenient excuse for them. I believe it’s not so much an issue of what they’ve done that keeps them from following Jesus, but rather more a case of what they are currently doing. More deterrent than guilt from their past is the prospect of giving up the things in their present.
I heard Christine Cain give a great illustration at the Code Orange revival held earlier this year at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. She said to imagine she took a bottle of poison, peeled off the label, and replaced it with a label that said “chocolate sauce” and put in your refrigerator. You would then take the jar and use it expecting to be satisfied with something sweet. In reality, what was in the jar would kill you. Her takeaway point was that “The milder you make the label, the more potent the sin.” We see this same scenario play out every day in our own lives. Things may appear to be sweet and pleasurable, but when we reach out and take them into our lives, the results turn bitter and eventually lead to death.