For the past few days I have been pondering how to write what has been on my heart. When I feel passionately about something, I can tend toward getting on a soapbox, and that’s not what I want to do. On the other hand, this is so important that I don’t want to take it lightly.
I’m writing specifically to my fellow believers today, the ones who have already made a choice to receive the gift of grace that God offers and a commitment to walk according to his ways and his Word. I want to encourage, exhort, remind, chasten, beg… whatever I need to do, I want to help you and me (believe me, I need this too!) get an eternal focus.
I watched a cooking competition show on the Food Network recently. One competitor worked very hard on a complex sauce. It turned out wonderfully. The problem was, he spent so much time on his sauce that he didn’t have time to cook his main dish properly and it was raw. He got so caught up in a peripheral part of the meal, even though it was important and even though he did it well, that he failed in the overall task.
I think we, the church, sometimes tend to do the same. We get caught up in things that are important, but end up missing out on the big picture.
When I read a news story online, I make it a habit to read the comments afterward. I find it very enlightening, but also frequently disheartening. Christians are perceived in not just a negative light, but in an extremely hostile manner. The image held by much of the public is no longer just “goody two-shoes” or self-righteous, it is of a hateful, vicious, angry and dangerous group.
We, the church, have gone about trying to do good things – stop pornography, protect the unborn, stand up for marriage, state what God’s Word says about sin – but in some of the ways that we have done some of these things, we have fought a battle without thinking about the war. Our true battle is not with the forces of this world. It is not with the pornographers, the abortion doctors, the gay activists, Hollywood or any others. Our battle is with Satan, and it isn’t over whether or not there is going to be an adult bookstore down the street or a gay couple next door. It’s about whether or not God will have a chance to minister to the hurting, lost souls that he loves who are running that adult bookstore, or living in that house next door. It’s about the fact that every single thing that happens on this earth is going to end. It won’t last. But eternity is real. All of these people that feel defensive and angry and hostile toward Christians are headed toward eternity. Are the things we are fighting against more important than the opportunity to reach the people behind them? Jesus did not say “By this people will know you are my disciples – that you straighten up society and make people live according to my law.” He said “Love one another.” And he didn’t just mean other Christians.
I am trying to concentrate on two things right now. Knowing God, just knowing him more, and trying to have more of an eternal perspective. Being more aware of eternity and if my actions are affecting it. If they aren’t, then I’m making sauce, not a main dish.
Please listen to this song…
“Jesus, Friend Of Sinners” Casting Crowns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66zqQBxhUDA&feature=related
Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart dividedOh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yoursJesus, friend of sinners, the one whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
When we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines
And loved like You didYou love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet