I know I’ve said this before, but I am continually amazed at how tightly wound people are these days. Particularly Christians, who often act more like the world than like the beloved, called-out, sanctified ones who have this earth to shun and heaven to gain.
Christians seem to be just as prone to worry, fear, hostility, unfaithfulness, anger and critical spirits as the world, and sometimes it is very hard to tell the Christians from the unregenerate. Few seem to want to put effort into genuinely loving others – at least in the Scriptural way – because it is easier to tear down than to build up. In their natural state, humans have always gravitated toward tearing others down in order to feel better about themselves, but once we have been saved, it becomes sinful Phariseeism, and the work of the flesh. We have all been forgiven much, we must never become sin-sniffing, self-righteous ones who think that somehow we have arrived. What were you saved from? What do you struggle with every day? Perfection? I don’t think so. Me either! Far from it. Therefore, since we are beset by various weights and griefs to bear, we all fall far short of His glory. There is never any reason to set ourselves over others; Scripture says to esteem others above ourselves. Church of Jesus, are we doing this?
Now, I understand that Christians are at various stages of maturity but honestly, we all have the same Bible and can read for ourselves that we are all called to walk in the Spirit and die to self. We are all called to put others first and work for the Kingdom, from the newest babe in Christ to the oldest saint. Ignoring Scriptural mandates to have their eyes on heaven, some seem to think they can be as worldly as they want, dragging themselves through life and accumulating as much dirt and grime as they can as they scrape the pavement. Kind of like that Peanuts character “Pigpen”, who was always surrounded by a cloud of dirt and excusing it at every turn, reveling in his individuality, while the opportunity to come clean always seemed to elude. A lot of emerging pastors, and subsequently their flocks, seem to like to live on the lowest rung on the ladder and flaunt their fleshly weaknesses as though it were ‘the new humility’. They have invented a pseudo-intellectual vocabulary intended to impress and appear lofty, like a postmodern Gnosticism for the newly enlightened. Sorry, you’re not building yourselves or anyone else up in the faith, you’re mostly just calling attention to yourself instead of bringing glory to the Lord. Since when is there anything in the natural man that is appealing or worthy of exaltation? These flesh and bone containers (caskets?) we live in are meant to house eternity, to reflect the light of salvation, to testify of the hope of new life. Anyone can dwell in the mud, anyone can live in the basement, but why would you want to?
Test yourselves in this every day: the Scriptural way to love is to ‘bear all things, hope all things, believe all things, endure all things – to never fail’. If we have not love, whatever else we do is empty. Love came down, Love bought us with His blood, Love was unjustly condemned for sinful man – you and me. If we remember what we were saved from – and FOR – and are thankful, we should want to strive to fulfill this definition in our own lives – we should crave it, chase it, covet it, and desire it with all our being, and only then can we turn around and be Jesus to someone else. The REAL Jesus, not one we have made in our own image, with the veneer of the latest churchianity, while we go home and bring our loved ones down with our tongues, our apathy, and subject them to our self-life.
I hear of so many who are depressed, who are so unable to function day to day that they chase after worldly wisdom and solutions, while having utterly lost sight of the lighthouse light that shines brightly in the darkness. My heart breaks for those who have ceased to believe the promises, have lost sight of the brevity of life, and are ‘in the basement digging holes’. I realize there is MUCH pain and sorrow in this life, but so what else is new? I sympathize with all my heart – been there, done that, prone to wander Lord, I feel it. Aren’t we all in pain? But consider this: God in His mercy lets us experience the lowest points so that we long for heaven, for His continued presence, and hang on His grace day to day. He will work in us and chastise us as needed until He is our hope, our all in all, our very breath. The joy of the Lord is our strength; the melancholy spirit of the age just does not reflect the glory that is in us, nor does it reflect the new life we claim to have.
Guard your hearts, your minds, your peace. If something steals your joy, run from it. Bring every thought captive, think on whatever is lovely, true, and praiseworthy. Turn off the external noise, and revel in the eternal that is internal. You will revolutionize your walk, your heart, and those around you will see your glow, and be drawn to you as a moth to the flame.