One of my friends was speaking at a large local church this weekend. We are always challenged and encouraged by his preaching, so my wife and I went to support him there. The Lord definitely spoke through him as he taught and we left fired up and ready to make some adjustments in our own lives. The church itself though left me feeling an odd mixture of anger and sadness. Despite the fervor of the sermon, the rest of the service felt slick, overproduced, and soul-less. Instead of an atmosphere where I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, all I perceived was the culmination of the American dream in the heart of suburbia.
My passion is to teach and encourage others to lead lives wholly devoted to Christ, to help them become the people God created them to be. When I am surrounded by a group of professing believers who are settling for less than God has planned for them, something inside me begins to well up and I want to scream. How is it that we have settled for so little when the One we serve holds the entire Universe in His hands? Greater still is the fact that when we surrender our lives to Him, all of His power resides within us and is available to us.
If we have all this power available to us individually, think what we can do corporately as the body of Christ! So when I sit among a few thousand people and feel nothing more powerful than the American Dream, I hope you understand my frustration. Gathering together as a body of believers should always bring about a powerful moving of the Spirit of God. But that won’t happen unless and until we have all surrendered our hearts and live entirely to Jesus Christ. As long as we are focused more on what we have in this world than on the fact that billions are destined to be forever separated from their Creator, we will never experience everything God has for us. We will never accomplish the mission He has given us to do when our selfishness and greed are our primary concerns. We are the hands and feet of God, designed to do great work for His honor and His glory. That’s the goal, but instead we are chasing a dream.
Don’t be fooled, God sees our hearts and knows where our motivations truly are. We are not here to enjoy the ride and get all that we can. Our purpose in life is to bring the Kingdom of God down to earth. We are to exhibit His love, mercy, and generosity to others. Anything less is unacceptable to God. Our souls were made to shine, but too often we simply hide the light. The result is a weak church oblivious to the power available to them. We become toothless and soul-less. We all must ask ourselves, “Are we pursuing the American dream or the mission of Christ?” Which will you choose?