As Christians we've all been there. The passion that overtakes us, the desire to be great, the emotion, the calling. We are on the mountaintop. We have never felt closer to God, never felt more passionate about a certain ministry, never had such "clarity". But it fades, and what happens as we begin to travel back down the mountain? In that moment, at the top, we want to change the world. It may last a few hours, a day, a week, but usually that passion begins to get replaced with something else. Without even noticing it, the passion turns to comfort.
“We have hearts that lead us to do nothing. We do not deliberately withhold compassion, but we do not think beyond our personal worlds.”
I love when God begins to stir up something great. I love when He begins a movement of something that is close to His heart. Stirring up a desire in masses to seek out Scriptures, stirring up in masses a desire to serve, stirring up in masses a desire to get closer to Him and to become who He has called us to be. My friend shared on her blog today about "The Ordinary Heart". It spoke to me so much knowing where she was coming from in this. Knowing that God has been secretly stirring up a desire in the hearts of many women I love and that He is beginning to make it known to all of us what He is calling us to do. The mountaintop is just not enough, not if we want to actually make a difference, not if we want to change the world.
"We see a video on one of the big global issues and it makes us sad for a moment. We may even shed a tear or two. We are moved, sometimes to action for a short time. But then life goes on, we get wrapped back up in our own little worlds and we forget that there is an entire world of injustice out there. That is not compassion. That is emotion. And emotion is not is what is needed to make a change."
We go to conferences, we attend conventions, we constantly seek after ways to be "better". We seek after the "self-help" aspect of religion as if it is the very bane of our existence. And you know what, it actually is. Not the seeking, but the self-seeking. The Old English word "bana" means "slayer", the bane of our existence is "something that kills you". But how can seeking ways to be better kill us? No, technically, our self-seeking won't kill us, but it has the very real power to kill our influence, to kill our impact. My God is not a "self-help" God, my God is a God who serves and calls me to serve along side of Him.
“When we have to hold a conference like this to remind the Church to be compassionate, something is fundamentally wrong.”
Amen! I will take it a step further and say if we have to hold conferences to get people excited about being a Christian, something is fundamentally wrong. If we are constantly seeking to better ourselves, but it never sticks; if we are constantly having these brief moments when we want to change the world, but do not go out and do something about it; if we keep treating our relationship with God as if it has everything to do with us and nothing to do with the rest of the world, we're just missing it. As Christians we are called to be filled with Christ. Filled with His love, His purpose, His compassion. If we are not able to live out our calling without being on the mountaintop then something is fundamentally wrong.
"Anyone who sets himself up as 'religious' by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."
Something that God has been laying on my heart over and over and over the past 2 years is that religion is not as "bad" as it has been made out to be. Yes, it is all about a relationship with God, no, it is not about following a bunch of rules, and, no, there is absolutely no amount of "good" that we can do to work our way into Heaven. But there is a vast seperation between our salvation and our lifestyle. Anyone can talk the talk, but not many are walking the walk. And we as the church scratch our heads and wonder why many have turned away from established religion, we wonder why the hurting are the ones turning away from the church, we can't understand why the message of Christianity is being met with such distaste. Our actions have no effect on our entrance into Heaven. Once we accept the Lord as our Savior and believe that He died as a sacrifice for us, it is finished our fate is sealed. But our actions have absolutely everything to do with our wittness to others, and absolutely everything to do with whether or not they will make the decision to believe. If we go about our lives bound for Heaven heaping upon ourselves abundant grace, why would anyone believe they need what we have? If they look at your life and it looks the same as theirs, what would they need our God for?
"The sum of your faith is only as good as the sum of your works. Because we know Jesus Christ as Savior, our practices manifest our devotion to Him."
If we as Christians were actually being "religious", people would not be running from God. They would be running toward Him. If we as Christians were actually living by the Word people would not feel shunned. They would feel loved. Being religious is not being self-righteous. Being religious is not just following rules because they are rules, but following rules because they are right. If we were truly being "religious" calling others to live in accordance to their high calling wouldn't make people feel judged, it would make them feel encouraged. Maybe the problem is that as Christians we forgot about our religion as soon as we gained our salvation. We are judgemental rather than encouraging, we are turning people out rather than loving them in. We don't follow the rules because we are forgiven, and they see only hypocrisy not grace. Then we continually go to the mountaintop to find God, but we leave Him behind as we come down.
"Why is there still so much injustice in the world? Some blame God. They ask why He hasn’t done something. Why He allows it to continue. It isn’t God’s fault. It is ours."