Thursday, April 1, 2010

One Step at a Time

Of all the comments and concepts introduced in the Preface, the directive given on the bottom of page 21 is what I found to be most intriguing. It reads:

“We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You’ve probably heard the expression ‘I believe in God, just not organized religion.’ I don’t think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to ‘I can’t deny what the church does, but I don’t believe in their God.’ At least then they’d address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat.”

When I asked a friend for his take on the comment, he took a rather wide-angled perspective. In his opinion, the negative reference to “organized religion” resulted from a myriad of circumstances including, but not limited to, the current sexual abuse allegations dogging the Catholic Church and the numerous evangelical ministers that have wandered astray. I, too, agree that these things have done nothing to help the reputation of “organized religion;” however, I contend that such blame is also a way for us to divert responsibility. My approach to Chan’s statement is less forgiving. I believe organized religion speaks directly to the church…which is us!

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”
Ephesians 5:29-30

We are members of His body…each one of us is part of the church. And as a part of the church, we must hold ourselves to that high standard…WE MUST LIVE OUR LIVES AS WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE. So, are you? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for perfection. None of us are perfect. We all fall short and are destined to make mistakes, but God’s grace covers those imperfections. This is about doing what we need to be doing…but aren’t. It’s about putting an end to the things we should not be doing…but don’t.


I’m sure you see where this is going! I want you to think about how your behavior may enable someone to use the church as an excuse for rejecting God. Ouch! If you’re anything like me, you might come up with a few examples. (Some examples could be prefacing gossip with "I really shouldn't say this, BUT..." or losing your temper with a friend or co-worker...or better yet, your spouse, or child). Take one of your “issues” and spend the next 48 hours working on it. Warning: you might be tempted to ‘right all your wrongs’…DON’T! You see, I have this theory. It’s the same rationale for why the New Year's resolution for losing weight never works. We become overly ambitious, so caught up in wanting to change, that we attack everything at once...exercising everyday, changing our eating habits, depriving ourselves the simpliest of pleasures. We begin to feel overwhelmed and ultimately defeated because making a lifestyle change is hard, making several all at once is incredibly difficult. We live in a society that wants instant success…but we’re talking about eternal success, if you will. Be patient. One step at a time.

For accountability’s sake, I’ll share my issue of choice. I am an encourager. I guess it’s one of my gifts. However, I seem to lack this gift with my own daughter. For the next 48 hours, I’m committing myself to extending that encouragement to my daughter. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a tough parent. I expect a lot from my children and sometimes I forget that my job is to lovingly mold them. Jesus was firm, but he was also gentle. That will be my focus and commitment for the next 48 hours. I’ll let you know how I do…

His Faithful Servant~

1 comment:

  1. The past 48 hours have been very interesting. I think I did a fairly good job encouraging my daughter. My husband did have to remind me once this morning, but besides that, I was pretty good. The interesting thing, however, was the correlation I found between my daughter's behavior and my impatience. About 95% of the was COMPLETELY MY FAULT. I was either distracted, 'multitasking', or just completely frazzled (which is pretty much everyday between 5:00 and whenever my husband comes home!) When I took the time to sit down and devote 100% of my attention to her, our interaction was enjoyable. Multi-tasking is very beneficial, but it can also be distracting. I need to be present for my kids. This was a great reminder!