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Friday, March 27, 2009

Something's Wrong with Our Faith

I am a pastor. People come to me with their problems. They come to me with their sins too. Their sins are real problems.

I know that none of us is perfect. I know that I have sinned and continue to confess things that I should have known better than to have done. The problem is that I am seeing people who are active in church, obviously believing Christians, get involved in sinful lifestyles that do not distinguish them from anyone who has never known Christ. Something is seriously wrong.

Do people live double lives? My experience reveals that they do. They can come to church, sing praises, raise their hands and shout "Glory!" yet before the week is up, they have committed adultery or embezzled from their company or snorted coke or beaten up their wife. Why is there such a disconnect?

We cannot be of the world and in Christ. They are opposed to each other. Either we are in Christ and we are merely in the world or we are of the world and we have Christ standing outside our lives. The issue is lordship.

Maybe I have failed these people. Maybe I have talked about God's grace so much that I have left out our commitment to Him. Our response to His grace is total commitment. Yet, I avoid telling them that total commitment means every area of their lives. I don't want to appear as one of the preachers who begs for money each week so I soft sell the aspect of all of your money belonging to God. I don't want to appear a prude so I don't say that there are places you should never go and movies you should never see.

I wonder if I have told people how to love Jesus. You really can't say you love someone if you only think about them on Sundays. True love means you can't stop thinking about them. Maybe I have not modeled that for the congregation.

Maybe I haven't told the congregation that the Christian life is one of war. There is a distinct enemy. He wants to destroy their faith. He wants to destroy their witness in the world. You can't be casual in a war. You either are serious about fighting it or you will lose.

Could I have been so concerned that people wouldn't come back that I failed to tell them the real meaning of Christianity? Would they go somewhere where they are told that God wants to give them a bundle of money if they keep giving to that church and praising God with hands lifted high? There are plenty of places making these promises about God. They have enough random stories of wealth that they keep people hoping. It's like the lottery. Every day there is a winner. They never point out the number of losers. These churches are doing the same thing. They pack their buildings and I want to pack ours so I am just as guilty of presenting a god who doesn't exist as much as they are. I just do it in a different way.

Maybe I have. That doesn't mean that I must continue to do so. If I really cared about Christ and His people I will tell them the story of commitment. I will tell them how they can truly fall in love with Christ. I cannot be concerned with whether they like the story. The story I have been telling is making no difference.

Something has to change. I will start with me.

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