Lately, I have been asking why there is so much work going into the proclamation of the Gospel and yet there is often little fruit. The Good News of the Kingdom of God should transform everything that it touches. There is no better word than that Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. Not only that but He came bringing a Spirit of adoption so we could be restored to our rightful place as children of God. It seems like our societies are not only not being transformed but they are becoming more openly hostile to this Good News. Are we doing something wrong?
The first thing that came to me is that we are not pursuing unity. I am often comfortable with Christians that agree with me but have little fellowship with those who come from a different tradition or understanding than me. I tend to hold to what I have been taught and cling to the limited revelation that I have without allowing myself to see that others may have a different understanding of something than me and they may be the one that is right. I am not advocating abandoning truth but rather being open to the idea that God may not reveal all truth to any one person or group. Someone else may be given a revelation of something that I may not have received. If I don't acknowledge, honor and learn from them, I will have a more limited view of the truth of God. He created us to need one another.
You might ask how this hinders our proclamation of the Gospel. First,they see us as hypocrites and phonies. Because we do not work together in spite of our differences, They believe we are not following the one true God. The rift that exists because of our different understandings keeps the world from seeing past us to the see the God we serve. When the disciples approached Jesus about those who were speaking about Him but were not with them, Jesus said that whoever was not against Him was for Him. How could they speak against Him if they were doing miracles in His name. We need to adopt this attitude in the body. Even if someone is not in our fellowship or tradition, we need to publicly bless them because there is One Lord over all of us.
Secondly, they do not see love from us toward our brothers and sisters when we do not get past our differences to proclaim His truth corporately. When we look for reasons to be divided, the lost world will pick up on that. They already experience enough separation and rejection. Why would they want to be part of a body that claims to love Jesus yet cannot get along with one another. The world has enough strife without the Church adding to it. This theme is repeated in almost every chapter of 1 John. We need to take it to heart.
The other thing that has really struck me is how devoid of emotion much of my Christian walk is. I know the truth of God on an intellectual level. I study His word and know that it is true but I am unwilling to let my senses be overwhelmed by His majesty, glory, might, beauty or even terror. God is so much more than my finite mind can comprehend but yet He wants me to experience Him fully. Emotions and senses are to be as much a part of our Christian walk as intellect. His Spirit in me wants to work through all of these areas. How can God possess all of me if I do not allow these things to be involved in my walk with Him. The world needs to hear truth but they also need to see people overwhelmed by the bigness of God and not ashamed to let it be seen. Surrendering all of me means that God gets to reveal Himself to the world through every aspect of the life He has given me.
We are between teams this week and this is what I have been thinking about the last few days. I have started to write this a few times but have to start over because I realized that my tone was one of accusation and that is the exact opposite of my desire. If you read this and you feel accused, I pray that you will know it is not my intention. What I am writing is born out of a conviction that God has placed in me over the last few days and months. If this causes you to question, I hope you do not feel condemned but rather, you come away with a feeling of hope for where God is leading.
Together as one in the proclamation of the Gospel.