Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
The most striking thing about Paul is that he pretty much speaks with deep conviction and emotion. It is strange that one of the deepest theological minds is also one of the deepest emotional people in history. He is consistantly speaking about loving the people to whom he writes his letters. This passage is no different.
He speaks of his journey with Christ. He does not sugar coat it as many do in today’s culture. He actually does the exact opposite. Why on earth would anyone want to willingly live through the highs and lows in the Paul’s life, from being considered a god to being exicuted a number of times.
We live in a culture where the influence of the church is in decline. I have often wondered if the reason is that we have forgotten to be real. Paul says do not accept the grace of God in vain. I sat for a while just considering this. What is accepting God’s grace in vain? I can come up with several ideas, many I have to admit I have and in some cases still participate in. Things like hypocrisy, neglect, injustice, and self justification. It is taking the knowledge we have about what we think God is about and building rules and regulations around it. In short becoming pharisees, knowing everything about God and the correct way of living but not living it in your life.
I consider my own traditions of faith, we have several Quaker groups that each claim to be the true authentic representative of the Religious Society of Friends, yet each of these group have developed new traditions in an expression of faith that rejected tradition. So in truth none of us are truely Quaker, but Quaker hybrids. That is not completly bad as long as we are authentic to our testimony. I broaden my view to the various other denominations, each has a unique expression that they intensely focus on many at the expense of all other expressions. It gives us a narrowing view of what life with Christ truely is.
It is difficult to both stop this trend or even to reverse it but it is needed. We as followers of Christ should be the most honest about our faith, life, and experiences not because we want everyone in our business instead to bring hope that even though we struggle we can overcome through the strength given by the Spirit of God. It is not uncomon for people to stay away from Christ or the church because they do not have their life “in order” yet. Here’s a news flash, I am a minister of the Gospel and neither do I! If I were to go around saying come to Christ and he will keep your house from going into foreclosure, not only would I distroy your faith but I would damage the influence of the church in the community. God does care about our lives, he cares so much that he will not get overly involved. The flip side is that if we get more involved in Life with Him we will grow spiritually and have a more disiplined life so we may become more able to face the challenges life gives us.
Today I consider what areas of life I am being dishonest about, and I am praying that God will open my mind up to the truth.