Have you ever realized that sometimes it is easier to talk about the Christian life than to feel its power strengthening you? We are right to say, “God is Good,” but why do we stop there and not share the ways he has proven his goodness to us? Then there are the times when something you are studying has plenty of words, but it just does not seem to get too deep. If it is not the over abundance of words, then we might just be wondering how many times the same lesson needs to be covered in the study material. Could it be that there are times when the church has plenty to say, but very little power from the Spirit for fuel? Is there anything we can do to get more strength from all the discussions and lessons we have from our faith?
It is not that difficult to put our fingers on this problem. Here’s how Paul put it in the first chapter of Romans:
“Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22[ NIV]
This may sound offensive, but let’s stop and think together for a moment. It is very common practice for Christians to encourage each other by offering common lines like, “Keep your eye on Jesus” or “God is good,” but does this really encourage every Christian? Consider the believer who is living in a struggling or failing marriage; they would love to get their eyes off of the tragedies going on in their homes, but all of us would agree that in that situation keeping Jesus’ ways in mind is very hard. We should absolutely seek to lift each other up, but don’t just settle for some truthful words. Take some time to focus on Christ, and consider how you can offer His strength and hope through such a rough time.
Then consider the condition of many of our churches. It is often a matter of significant pride when a church has a booming Sunday School program. However, we often find lessons that are flimsy and missing substance, or classes that are frustrated with material going over their heads. What we rarely see in churches are active efforts to learn some building block truths of theology. A particular lesson may be on praising the Lord, but such lessons usually are built on God’s goodness or Faithfulness. How often do we study praise from the perspective that God is zealous for righteousness and wrathful towards rebellion?
Another problem you may notice would be that of apathy. There are some Christians who are very willing to sit through 2.5 sermons a week and a Sunday school lesson, but they grow weary of the pastor always mentioning the need for evangelism, personal sacrifice, and local sob stories. What good is it to hear words about God if the Spirit of God isn’t taking root in the listener’s heart?
Please do not read this as my way of suggesting we stop Sunday School, or that pastor’s should save their time and shorten their sermons. You and I, as God’s people, need to see that Christianity is more than the words we can say. Christ came and died for us so that we might allow His love and wisdom live in and through the lives we surrender to him. If Christ is the one who is living in us, then each word you and I hear will be filtered through his ears and placed in the heart he now shares with us. If Christ is living in us, then we will come to see that when we speak, we are not speaking to be heard, but to inspire holiness and challenge sin.
Lord, I ask that you would bless each reader with a renewal in their lives that allows them to see more of you filling them each day. Would you teach your church to temper our words with your guidance, making every word from our mouths powerful and heart-piercing.