Ralph Waldo Emerson:
That which we are, we shall teach, not voluntarily, but involuntarily.
How were you raised? Were you brought up in a church that literally “scared the hell” out of you, leaving you with fear every night that you might not make it in? Did it seem like every little bit of fun you had was going to cost you big, eternally?
Unlike my husband, I wasn’t raised in church. I was, however, raised in an area with a high percentage of church attendance. It only makes sense that this led to me being a little afraid and occasionally trying to make deals with God for something.
Since I became a Christian in my early twenties, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among believers—the ones who were raised in church and should have a deep-rooted sense of Christ’s love, His sacrifice and the resulting justification, simply don’t. The very people who should recognize our God as the loving Heavenly Father He is, seem to be even more scared and condemned than I was as a little girl. It seems those who have been churched the longest, are the very ones who have the most trouble with fear and unrest.
Matthew 11:30, NIV:
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
My experience with Christ was entirely different than that of these believers. I came to Jesus a sinner, broken and when I discovered the liberty Christ offered, my burden truly was lifted! My condemnation was gone the moment I accepted Jesus and that’s where it stayed.
Are we collectively carrying the burden of Christ or are we aspiring to be like some man on a platform we admire? I’m afraid some of us are as bad off as if we were lost, looking to something other than Christ to satisfy our soul.
We are often quick to condemn the lost. We judge their every movement. Rather than being attractive like Jesus, we are condemning and judgmental and sometimes even scary. The condemnation and fear that was taught involuntarily, to so many of the Christians I know in their childhood, is now being transferred to all who come into contact with them voluntarily. It is tarnishing our interactions with the lost and our relationship with Him.
Do we care about the Great commission and our individual part in it? Do we notice the needs and wonderful Christ likeness around us in the church or are we so put off by change or people we don’t understand, that we ignore the lost and dying we run into every day?
What would it look like for a church to work through the concept of
1 Corinthians 12:15-31?
We are all necessary. The fields are white with harvest.
Julie is the wife of Ken VanHoose, senior pastor at Spirit Life Church. Visit the Spirit Life Church website to learn more about Spirit Life Church.