You know how a good cup of coffee can just make your day? The smell makes you smile and brings your hopes up for the delicious elixir of life you’re about to enjoy. Then the robust flavors of a well roasted bean hit your tongue and make your taste-buds dance with joy as your mind and body react to the surge of energy it has just taken in.
That’s a little dramatic, but oh well.
So what would happen if when you’ve finally got that cup in your hand, hopes high and mind ready (and wallet crying because $5 is still unjustifiable for this), you take a sip and find that the coffee is weak and bitter? The horror! I would be frustrated and annoyed because I was expecting something better. You know what though? I would probably still finish the coffee. I might even go back to the place I got that coffee, order the same drink, and finish it every time because somehow I hope that it will be better this time because I expect it to be something it isn’t. Even when it doesn’t change, I won’t either because I become comfortable with it. Something about that place and that drink is convenient, and I am willing to settle.
This is my fear; comfort and weakness.
I think too often our message is weak, overly saturated with the wrong kind of comfort. We address the same topics (that are necessary, mind you) while forgetting to teach our brothers and sisters to simply understand the Word. It is important to have sermons on understanding our daily lives through a God-centered lens. It is more important to equip the saints to read the Word for themselves, meeting God in a unique way only He displays to His people individually.
I did not need the repeated messages on why I should not have sex, watch porn, do drugs or party, when I was in the eighth grade. I needed a reminder of why those were wrong, then a deep exploration of the Word of God to show me a better way to use my time. I didn’t need pastors to be funny or try and be relatable all of the time. I already looked up to them! I needed them to teach me how to read the Word, then point me to other people who would do the same. I do not need the overly emotional worship leaders and songs or preachers who love a good clap. I need a face-down respect of God, an understanding of Jesus, and a trust in Spirit who will then lead me to a response when He is in control of my spirit and actions when I am in corporate worship.
Listen to me, friends. As a believer in Christ, I know I have the authority to say this. We do not need more hands clapping, more feel good music, more of what we know. We need knees on the ground in repentance.
I am not so naive to ignore the fact that a person’s response to the Gospel is completely out of my control, but what I am aware of is how I use the time I am given to shepherd the people entrusted to me to the water of life as best as I can. God will do the rest.
Oh, friends. The burning in my heart for truth and revival is so fierce that I cannot contain the flames much longer. Do you ever feel the desire to speak freedom over your fellow man, the desire to frantically point back to the truth, falling on your knees in agony for the blindness of those around you?
Our generation begs for an emotional something, a feeling that will band-aid their problems and tell them how to live decent lives, to be normal and good. I don’t know about you, but I have never read a scripture that was normal. All of them are supernatural and are encouraging because they present this idea of something that is not normal as a gift to us. The promises of God are wrapped in a costly grace, and Jesus’ death was anything but normal. Jesus died to bring a RADICAL and DANGEROUS love to us! Praise God I do not have to be normal! It would be awful!
Friends, that you and I would open our eyes and hearts to the goodness of the Word as the Word, and that we would not go to it with our own assumptions, only looking for things that will make us feel good.
The truth that God divinely inspired, divinely acted out, and divinely gifted to us is GOOD.
May we all rest, stand, and speak from our knowledge that God is so so good, and that He has called us up out of our childish ways and back to the truth in a firm, but gentle way that only He can.
In the thick of it,
“Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15
(cross references: John 3:3,5 – Luke 8:13, “And the ones on the rock are those who when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in the time of testing fall away.”)
Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
(cross references: Hebrews 10:20 – 1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”)