Saturday, September 05, 2009

In It, Not of It

The older I get, the more aware I am of the ever failing status of the church. The purpose God intended for her has been masked in religion instead of relationship, gimmicks, and ultimately has all but been abandoned. We want to be amused and entertained with no cost to ourselves, our convenience, or the lifestyle we think we want and deserve.

I think the main problem is that so many 'Christians' are not adhering to the "be in the world, not of it" (John 15:19, John 17:14, I John 2:5) part of the Bible. Isn't this why the divorce rate is the same in the church as it is in the world? How many people sitting in the pews each Sunday can't break an addiction - drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography.... How many people are having sex before they're married, in the midst of an affair, or struggling with homosexuality? How many are in the night clubs or at restaurants drinking alcoholic beverages despite many of them having agreed to adhere to their church covenant that specifically says they'll abstain from doing so? How many use language not becoming of a Christian? Too many. And sadly, it's having just the impact that Satan wants it to have.

Those are the "big" sins we as Christians like to focus on. But what about all the gossip going on? What about backbiting, divisiveness in the church over selfish matters, stares of disapproval, and an overall lack of concern for the church as a whole? Aren't these just as bad? We too often care more about our selfish interests than that of the interest of Christ's church. We want what we want. We forget that the church is to submit to Christ, which means us as individuals making up the church as a whole. But do we? Do we submit to the best interests of Her, or get angry, begin finding those with similar thoughts and complaints, and form a posy that goes against the very essence of the church, its members, its staff....its purpose? Is it really any wonder why so many people are put off by the thought of Christianity and church?

How many non-Christians have laid in bed at night wondering if there was more to life? If this is all their life is meant to be? Searching and longing for more than what their life has become. How many of them have heard us speak of Christ, the church we attend, and examined us to see if what we say truly makes us different.. if what we claim is what can make the difference in their life? The thought is a very daunting one to me. Even more daunting is what most non-Christians find when they examine us. How many of us are more of a stumbling block (Romans 14:13, I Cor. 8:9, II Cor. 6:3) than an example? And I say "us" because there are days that I know that I'm not living up to the standard God calls me to. My sin is just as ugly as everyone elses.

God calls us to more than this! We are to be set apart from the world, not blended in to the point that we're indistinguishable. Do we believe the Bible or not? Do we believe Him when He tells us that this life is as a fleeting moment and that it's just our temporary home? Do we? Do we trust Him that we can stand apart and come through it okay? Do we believe that living a truly Christian life is what's best for us, our children, our family? Do we? Because the way we're going doesn't reflect this. It reflects anything but our love for God and His Word. And it saddens me. There are days that my own actions sadden me. How much more have we let the church down? God down? The thought is almost unbearable.

Join with me in living a life set apart for His glory, His church, His Word... for Him. Trust me - no, trust Him, when He says that you can't go wrong in doing so. Be distinguishable. Set Apart. A burning light. A city on a hill. Salt to the earth. Be what He's called you to be... His.

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