It explained why I would come home after multiple church services on a Sunday with a level of exhaustion that I couldn’t even begin to describe. Not just tired, soul level exhausted. It explained why my true friendships were few in numbers and were all with people I had known for decades. I have always been a guy with hundreds of genuinely fond acquaintance relationships and very few friendships. It explained my anxiety around situations and scenarios with lots of strangers where I had to mingle and not where I got to have the relative position of safety of being the pastor guy on stage. It explained a lot of my self-loathing that I put myself through because I wasn’t more fun as a hang, or why I couldn’t be more winsome and charming in conversation. It explained … my life.
I have found it true, in my thirty years of walking with Jesus, that God and I have a different sense of time and urgency. When I want something to move quickly and with urgency, then that seems to be the exact season that God seems to slow things down and make me wait. When I want things to go slow, then that is when everything seems to come at me all once. The fact that God and I don’t have the same sense of time and urgency shouldn’t be surprising as God and I have very different perspectives and very different priorities.
What keeps us from loving the church? Is it necessary to be part of a church to be a Christian? Why does church matter?
"If I ever reach Heaven I expect to find three wonders there: first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had thought to meet there; and third, the greatest wonder of all, to find myself there." - John Newton
Faithfulness to God leaks into relationships with people. The way we love God has to spill into the way we treat the people that He has made. The Golden Rule of Jesus isn't hard to understand, but it does prove quite difficult to apply.
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.