There is something to be said for getting older. Life’s experience and continued learning help you to see life in a more realistic fashion. In thinking about life, faith, and things commonly taught and practiced in church, I wanted to highlight two things that need corrected. Things that actually set people up for disillusionment.
The first one is a common practice in Evangelical Churches. Someone makes the decision to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for sin and rather than giving that person the opportunity to realize what that means and then tell others. The church or a church leader tells others about them. I just saw a post from a big name pastor this morning featuring a homeless man who walked seven miles to an Easter Service and accepted Christ. It felt almost like the guy was being exploited with his picture on Facebook and a Christian guy pointing to him. If I were to caption the picture it would say, “See, God loves us and we are doing a great job of reaching people.” In Scripture, we see people who accepted Christ as their Savior immediately going out and telling their friends. You don’t see the disciples saying, “Look, we landed another one!”
The second thing that is bugging me lately, is we send a message that there is some way in this life to get to a place of maturity where we are consistently in a happy place; Where we consistently are living above the fray and barely ever sin anymore. I regularly hear people tell stories of how God has rescued and restored them from some monumental sin of the past, while neglecting to tell of the continued struggle they have in the present. Read Romans 8 in the Bible. This entire life is one of struggle. This entire life is swimming against the current. I’ve been a serious Christian for 39 years and if anything life has become more complex, there are more battles to face not less and my energy is decreasing not increasing.
The real benefits of knowing Christ, in many ways are other worldly. I mean, I know I know Him and He has promised to never leave me. He has promised His strength for the battle. Ultimately, He has promised, I will be with Him in eternity. There are some limited benefits in this life because of knowing Jesus, but it does not exempt you from all the issues that come from living on a fallen planet! One benefit is He has promised to teach us through everything and help us to become more like Him. But you still will have tragedy, you will have trouble, you will be sick, you will have sin battles and you will ultimately die, knowing Jesus does not exempt you from these things. Your body is dying but your inner person can be renewed every day through Him.
Knowing all the above is true and having tasted and seen the Lord is good, the cry of my heart is still, “That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”