August 14, 2015

Grown-ups in Childish Clothing

The day a friendly game of croquet turned UNRULY

Mediating arguments and settling disputes this morning I thought it might be helpful to point out that you don't see such behavior in church among God's people.
"He's touching my pew! Get your foot off my pew!"
Or sarcastically applaud when people show up late to embarrass them and draw attention to the fact that while you had YOUR act together they failed miserably. We don't display offenses on a billboard or celebrate mistakes from the platform in order to make our righteousness appear more righteous. Nor do we pick fights over the fact that she is wearing the same outfit we decided to wear and well....that's just not fair. You don't see anyone storming out of rooms stomping their feet leaving because they didn't get their way.
We've grown up.
We've left childish things behind.
We've arrived.
We know better.
Thank goodness.
Because such things are quite ridiculous and rather elementary.
Until I realized......
We haven't really grown up after all.
Offenses are a dime a dozen. They come in many colors. Many disguises. We wear them like badges. Display them in the most deceptive and clever ways. 
We flaunt our righteousness especially when someone else falls quietly musing in our pew how glad we are that that wasn't us. Comparing our religiosity with someone less than and somehow that makes us feel better about ourselves. 
We talk about others behind their backs and leave church when things don't go our way or it just doesn't suit us anymore. 
Heaven help us. 
Maybe we haven't grown up after all.
We're just better at disguising it. Making it less obvious. 
But the fact remains. 
We can't get ANYTHING accomplished when we're distracted with such things.
This is the stuff Satan uses to keep us from the greater things. The things that keep us from growing up.
The things that keep us from KINGDOM stuff.
Hebrews 6:1-9
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible. Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God’s “Well done!” But if it produces weeds and thistles, it’s more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested. I’m sure that won’t happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you—salvation things! God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
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