good books make you think

I recently (yesterday) re-read Every Man's Battle. It's really a very good book. But I wanted to steal a quote which they cited from a Leonard Ravenhill book entitled, Revival Praying,

"This present day is like an arena whose terraces are filled with the militant godless, the brilliant and belligerent skeptics, plus the blank-faced heathen millions, all looking into the empty ring to see what the Church of the living God can do. How I burn at this point! What are we Christians doing? To use a very tattered phrase, are we just "playing church?'"

I once had a college student quit volunteering with middle school kids because he said he couldn't' stand the fishbowl. I asked him what was wrong with the fishbowl and he said he couldn't live like he wanted to with everybody watching him. I asked him if had listened to what he just said. He didn't see a problem with it.

I'm not trying to point fingers. I'm really not. Nor sling mud. We all just get muddy then. But I am wondering at what point will people take seriously the call to walk with Christ.

I am not talking legalism here. Legalism is faked righteousness through outward behavior to make ourselves good enough for God to love us. It's outward appearances without inward transformation. I'm talking about our outward actions matching our inner belief. I'm talking about transformation that manifests itself in a changed life, not merely a personal, inward change that only I can see. That's part of the deal, but a little like rebuilding the motor in a car but never putting it back into the engine compartment and connecting it to the transmission. Sure you have a good motor, but what's the point of a motor if it isn't motoring something along?

The first verb of the Great Commission is go. There are a lot of verbs in the New Testament regarding how believers are to act, what we are to do, how we are to live. Be holy. Do the work of a evangelist. Be men of courage. Love your neighbor. Be on the alert.

We are a people who do because we are. We have been transformed and are being transformed, but the church in general (at least the church in the US and here in Guatemala) often has little outward impact on the world in which it is found.

The Great Commission commands us to Go. Make. Baptize. Teach. We are commanded to not have a hint of sexual immorality; flee from it. To consider others more important than ourselves. To love the Lord with every facet of our being. To not show partiality. To not embitter our children. We are not to get drunk or stay angry. We are to be a people who reflect the very holiness of God.

Alas, we are poor mirrors.

I certainly do not live a perfect life. I truly do not. But I want people to examine my life, evaluate it, and point out where my behavior is inconsistent with my belief. Why?

Because the world is watching. The militant godless, the brilliant and belligerent skeptics, the blank-faced heathen millions are watching to see what the people who call them to salvation really do. How they really live. If it's really worth it. If it really works. If God is real, then so should be our transformation.

A terrible thought, that last one. But see, God is real. And His reality is not based upon my faithfulness or my belief. My failure does not impact His deity. He is not made less or more by our belief. He is God, has always been God, and will remain God even if not one single person believes in Him. He is wholly other than we and will remain so for eternity.

But I do believe. And so do a whole bunch of other people. And I want the God in whom I believe, the Savior in whom I trust, the Spirit who fills me and guides me; I want them to rule me. I want them to change me. And I want them to change the world around me for God's glory. I want us to stop playing church and start living Christ. And I want to start today.


Alicia said...

Great reminders. Thanks! I think where I am right now is stuck in the middle of the parenting application of the Great Commission. Hannah's starting to immitate me all the time. Boy is that one a tough pill to swallow. She watches everything I do then acts it out. It's a great little accountability system that can be VERY humbling. =)

Mike McMaster said...

You stated the problem clearly. The last paragraph hints at the answer. Most would like to be beter. They try by washing the outside of the cup. We say we like simple answers, but we do not beleive them. Why does working at being better not get the right results? You know the correct answer, and write much beter than I, so give them the answers too.

haitimom said...

"apart from me, you can do nothing"

Yet, most people try to do it themselves. And the accomplish nothing.