How much of professional Christian life is geared so that we spend more time complaining about sinners than we spend in genuine compassionate friendship and relationship?
Friends, the grace of God means that we can and should take our sin very seriously and should do all we can to put it to death and to remove its patterns from us. When Paul wrote to the Colossian church, he reminded them that they had been raised with Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God. The implication of that incredible news of grace is that they had to be ruthless with sin. It was the only logical response that they would put it to death, to not have any part with it. That they would do whatever they could to expose it, to remove it, and to move far from it so that it couldn’t return. Jesus, of course, taught us to do the same thing. To cut off offending parts rather than to live with them continually compromising us.
Fall semester has arrived and she is a nasty little season y’all. Everyone is running pretty hard. Yesterday a friend told me I looked tired, and then added… “I mean even worse than usual.” They are the worst friend ever, but they aren’t wrong.
Repentance is a chance to admit you are wrong in a world of pressure trying to look like you are getting it right, and trust me, you are getting it wrong somewhere. It is a chance to declare dependence in a world where we are all exhausted from our so called independence. It is a a chance to throw yourself on the goodness of God, and to experience the fullness of joy when you discover just how good He is.
We are very quick to point out how we don’t want to be jerks for Jesus, but then we just default to being cowards vaguely associated with Christ. Those aren’t our only two options.
I used to find people with lots of money intimidating, but God has been teaching me over time what it looks like to serve them and lead them. These are simple observations, but ones that I have learned through pain and frustration at times. My hope is simply to be a faithful minister where God has me, and these are some of the principles that simple faithfulness requires of me in this context.
When profiteering replaces prophecy as the outcome for the creative mouthpieces of our churches, then we lose our voice in the world.
God meets with people right at the end of their ropes. He stands to meet us right at the end of the runway of our own capabilities and self-assuredness.
This week we reach a beatitude that at first seems to make no sense. It seems to make no sense because it again flies in the face of the common wisdom of that day and the common wisdom of today. But, it also seems self-defeating and borderline contradictory as a statement. In essence, Jesus is going to say that the dissatisfied will be the most satisfied.