A MESSAGE FOR THE CHURCH
Over and over again, desperate demands to be loved fling themselves from the pages of social media. Anguished cries for validation and acceptance echo through living rooms around the world. This is a generation that insists on being noticed and nurtured.
In this world, where television, video games, and virtual reality have convinced our youth that they can create their own truths, they have discovered that there are consequences that follow their creations. There is no shortage of news footage portraying the terror-filled tears of disenchanted young adults. They are determined to find relief in their destitution, thru demands. “Love me! You HAVE to love ME, and you have to ACCEPT my reality!”
When we see the lost in this state, it is easy to attribute their behavior to lack of relationship with the Lord, but what about Christians? What do we make of Christians – followers of Christ – reacting in this manner? What would bring a Christian to the point of screaming, “Look at ME! Love ME! Accept ME”? After all, as Christians, we want to reflect Christ, not ourselves…right?
Love truly IS the answer, but if we are still completely focused on ourselves, have we allowed the love of God to flow thru us to the extent that it is pouring out of us as well? Have we failed to return the love of our Creator, in worship, praise and…oh, yeah…obedience to His word?
In creating our own reality, have we built a dam, storing up reservoirs of love for ourselves without allowing it to freely flow? How did this happen?
The church is waking up to find itself far off its purposed track.
For far too long, we have focused more on sin than on seeking a continuously closer relationship with the Forgiver of sin. It is no wonder why so many lost people shy away from making the decision to invite Jesus into their hearts, because the list of what a Christian can and can’t do, in order to attain holiness, has grown to infinite lengths. We have preached more about the sin than the love that draws us closer and closer to the place where we don’t desire to sin any longer.
Man’s attempt to organize, along with his tendency to walk by his own understanding, has allowed the church to be led by division into what we call denominations. We have accepted this division, and even embraced it. It has fostered a legion of other issues, i.e., confusion, a club mentality, and an identity crisis…Are we children of God or children of the church?
As our numbers grow, and our pews fill, and ministries abound, is it possible that some of us have mistaken the call to love for the call to be seen doing good? Could it be that the fruit has been lifted higher than the Love that miraculously draws it from the vine?
Yes, the church is waking up and seeing the errors of its ways, but to what avail? Now, we see a body that knows it has stumbled, but instead of crying out for forgiveness, repenting, and taking steps in the direction of real relationship with the Author of Love, it is wallowing in guilt and shame. Instead of receiving God’s forgiveness, and forgiving itself, we see the church bending over backward to make amends, slipping into acceptance of ungodly virtues and lifestyles.
We are the church. As Christians, we are all part of the body. The body should want to stay together. When a foot hurts, there should be a hand to rub it. When a stomach rumbles, teeth should chew some food, and a throat should swallow it. Instead, infected with pride, the body heaves and spews out spiritual truths, before receiving their nutrition. The parts should work together…knees should bend, heads should bow, and we should seek the healing hands of God at the first sign of sickness.
If we, as individuals, understand even an ounce of God’s forgiveness toward us, then we, as the church, need to accept His forgiveness, as well. Accept it, repent, and focus on cultivating that intimate relationship with God that gives Him glory, and leads His people away from sin, away from self-absorption. Instead of labeling the days distraught youth as “millennials”, writing them off as lost causes…Instead of reacting to their angst with anger, or swaying from the truth to satisfy their cries…Let us turn to God ourselves. Let us pursue the Lover of our Soul like we’ve never pursued before! Let us receive His love, and let it flow thru us, leading the lost and the young by example! Let us surrender ourselves…our wills, our opinions, our perspectives…to Him wholly, completely. Let us be so given to God, that His sweet Holy Spirit freely flows, uninhibited, thru our church services, our praise, worship, and our lives. Let us allow the correction of conviction to flow from Him, thru those surrendered places, and not from our own positions of pride.
This is His call to us now, to the church… “Listen, and awake!”
Isaiah 51 and 52