The following is written by Marcus Kelly of the New Life Foursquare Church:
During the past few weeks I’ve been pondering the Christian life and the Christian walk and how we pursue it. As I have pondered, I’ve had a few thoughts I’d like to bring up and have you ponder with me.
One of the thoughts I’ve had is why are Christians seemingly so ineffective? I say “seemingly” because I believe we are effective but not nearly as effective as we need to be and should be. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject. I believe Christian spend too much time in their own heads judging their own thoughts and actions. For example, I know all the sins I commit, I am mindful of them and often times allow my past actions and attitudes to effect my future actions and thoughts. Meaning, I am less mindful of doing the work of God because I am too busy feeling bad about a dumb choice or action I made in the past. I’m so inwardly focused with something God has already redeemed that I miss an opportunity to share God’s redemption power with those around me.
I believe we are so inwardly focused on our own sins, ego, priorities and preferences that we can’t see the mission sitting in front of us. I love the church and I love that every church is different and has different missions. It is important that we do. But I fear that the church has become so focused on the believers in the church as we deal with our sins, ego, priorities and preferences that we’ve forgotten why we are the church.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). The Son has set us free from sin so why do we spend so much time dwelling on the sin we commit? Receive God’s forgiveness and move on. So often we never move beyond our sin because we never see a reason to. We need to look around our community and see someone other than the person in the mirror. These people are your reason to stop sinning. They need you. They need the freedom you have in Christ. I’m not advocating living a “plastic” Christian life; I’m saying live real and vulnerable before one another.
Don’t let your ego, or the way you want to be perceived, stop you from sharing the freedom you have. Press beyond and love someone. Again, be vulnerable with people. Be humble before God and man.
Set your priorities to God’s priorities. People are God’s priority. Make someone other than yourself a priority. I once read a book by a Christian author about how he drives around a parking lot praying that he will be blessed with a good parking space and how God always delivers him a good parking spot. I threw the book away because he didn’t go on to share how he looks to hand that parking spot off to someone else more needy. He takes it for himself. God gives so we can give. God blesses so we can bless. We are taken care of in the middle of all that God does through us. Please, I beg you, love someone other than yourself.
Lastly, I think preferences are tearing at the fabric of the body of Christ. We have so many options that we are spoiled. We leave churches because of preferences and go to churches because of preferences. No longer do we go to a church out of obedience of what God desires for our life but we go to a church because of what it offers. It is sad to me that this even has a name on the Plateau. We call it the “Church Two Step.” Who is the latest and greatest? Who offers me the biggest bang for my buck? It’s sad. The church body is not a meant to be a consumer. We’re meant to be a servant.
I believe the church as a whole is ineffective because as individuals we are not being effective. This isn’t to make you feel bad or get down on yourself but to think. Ponder this and talk to God about it. Go to the word and see if it rings true. Let’s move beyond our sin, our ego, our priorities and our preferences so we can show others God’s redemption power and love. Thanks for reading my thoughts and pondering, I hope you’ll ponder these ideas with me.