Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same
attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does
not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of
God (1 Pt.4:1-2).
The writer of Hebrews tells us, "In your struggle
against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood" (12:4).
There is a willingness to forego earthly desire for the sake of Christ, and there is a
willingness to suffer for the cause of Christ. It is a willingness that puts aside human
want to follow the will of God. It is a willingness, however, that escapes the largest
portion the Church as we know it.
It is a stiff necked people who stand tall and proud and refuse to bow to the Lord. It is
a deceived people who bow heads to give thanks for three full meals a day, yet refuse to
bow to the will of God if He would ask them to give up some of what they have grown
accustomed to. The majority of the Christian Church of the United States is such a people.
May God have mercy on us all, and no longer withdraw His Hand, for we are in need of His
We gather each Sunday to praise Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. We
sing songs of worship being more concerned with how much we like the song's tempo or
familiarity rather than whether it is offered as a vocal sacrifice to the Lord. We listen
to sermon after sermon, only to pick at the preacher's oratory abilities afterwards and
behind his back.
We are they who have a form of godliness while denying the power thereof. Trusting our
human appraisal of things and our reasoning abilities to deal with difficult, or even
daily, circumstances; while claiming that we trust God for everything. We trust our own
hands for provision of sustenance. We trust our financial fortitude for the promotion of
church growth, building programs and organized activity. We enter into business
discussions about the church with little mention of God's will, with the exception of a
brief, traditional opening prayer.
We are they who cling to our ways, our lifestyles, our likes and our wants, refusing to
let go without a fight (or perhaps, without a church split). And somehow within it all, we
have deceived ourselves into believing that we are living as righteously as is humanly
possible, and that we are making valiant efforts to carry out the will of God.
Woe to us. For we have become so blinded by our selfish desires that the truth of
righteous living has escaped us. We have become blind leaders of the blind. For we mix our
desires from this life with our desires for the next, and hope we can keep from slipping
too far in either direction. For the one side of the fence would mean that we are godless,
and no better than the lost world and all their godless lusts. And fully dwelling on the
other side of the fence would mean giving up those things we treasure of the world--the
same world we think to live above. We are a selfish and bratty people who want our cake
and eat it too.
We are a people who want to be entertained. We want church to be an enjoyable experience
that will keep people coming back. It would seem that fellowship with other believers and
with God is not enough. We must gear functions and services to a level suitable to the
liking of the majority or else they might lose interest and stay home and watch television
where they are sure to be entertained. Rather than the church setting the standards, it
has chosen to bow to the world as if to say, "If you can't beat'em, join'em." We
reason that a church needs money to function, and therefore needs members to have money,
and so it makes perfect sense that it should be formatted in a fashion that will attract
the most people--or at least the ones with money. And if that means bringing football into
the church on Superbowl Sunday--why not? After all, we have determined that we can't
compete with what the world offers.
And so in our efforts, out from our human reasoning and in order to sustain what we
desire, we have modeled the church after the world. And in essence have limited the
choices of the world around us. For once upon a time, people saw the distinct qualities of
the local church. It was a place where, when they finally grew up and got serious about
life, they would come to discover truth, purpose and the will of God. Now days, what does
the church have to offer anyone who is searching but more of the same?
It is time the church remembers what it means to set the standard and stop trying to
compete with the world in order to grow a membership.
It is time we stop deceiving ourselves to think that we can have our cake and eat it
too--having an eternal inheritance with Christ in Glory; while partaking of earthly