Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What's Wrong With This Picture? by Keith Giles

Seventy percent of the world’s wealth is in the hands of those who call themselves Christians. Out of this, only three percent is tithed to the church and less than this is given in support of missions.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Dallas Willard had a great perspective on this issue. He said, “You can’t separate the belief from the action. That’s the illusion–the idea that you can be all right on the inside and not act it out–and it has affected us in many ways. That’s a part of the idea that professing is enough.We have churches full of people who profess all kinds of stuff that they don’t believe. They think that by professing it they’re doing something good. Really, they’re just deluding themselves. In the area of social righteousness we cannot be right on the inside and not do it. We cannot! Of course we have people who pretend that they can, but it simply isn’t true. If we are right on the inside, we will address these issues straight-forwardly and take a stand on them, and, if necessary, die for them. We will be that committed.” –(from “Renovation Of The Heart”)

Where have we gone wrong? Where have we misunderstood what Christ redeemed us for? More importantly, how can we get back to a true, authentic form of Christianity that involves more than just professing a belief, moving into actually living it out?

A friend recently brought to my attention that Lot, although a godly man, was comfortable in Sodom. Even as God was ready to strike down this city for its vile practices, Lot was drawn to the allure of this place. The hearts of Lot and his family had been colored by their time in this land. How can we not see that we too have grown enamored with the world we live in?

Ezekiel 16:49 says that Sodom was “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” We always look at Sodom and Gomorah as cities of homosexual perversion, but it cannot be ignored that God’s word condemns them just as much for their indifference to the poor as to their sexual practice.

Are we comfortable in Sodom? Have we forgotten that “Friendship with the world is to be the enemy of God?”- (James 4:4)

Jesus was always trying to get his disciples to have the right perspective on things. He urged them to “seek first the Kingdom of God” because He knew that this was where all of us would spend eternity.

It’s why he tells us “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” because He knew that our perspective should be more about the Kingdom of God than the cares of this world.
One day each of us, you included, will stand in the physical presence of Jesus. This life will be over and our time in Eternity will begin. At that point each of us, you included, will look back on this life and regret the way we lived.

At that point, we will realize that all the time we wasted in pursuit of cars and clothes and status was a complete waste. We’ll realize that we squandered endless hours of our precious time on television and other empty distraction. We will see that Jesus gave us each an incredible potential to have an eternal impact on the Kingdom of God, and we blew it.

Jesus is urging us to take a step back, get an eternal perspective of our lives, and seek first His Kingdom. He doesn’t want us to blow it.

The great nineteenth-century evangelist Charles G. Finney warned believers in his day that God requires us to surrender to Him the ownership of everything. He contended that a Christian must never consider anything as being “owned” by them. Finney even went as far as to suggest that "young converts should be taught that they have renounced the ownership of all their possessions, and of themselves, or if they have not done this they are not Christians”.

I don’t know about you, but I need to get a fresh dose of this Kingdom perspective every single day. I need to take my eyes off the problems and concerns of my little life and start trusting that God has it all under control. There are only a few more days, maybe hours, left in my life before I enter into the actual, physical presence of Jesus. I want to be able to look back on this time I’ve been given without any regret for how I spent my life.

John Wimber once said that we’re all pocket change in God’s hand. He can spend us in any way He chooses, as long as we surrender ourselves to His control.

I’m ready to be spent.

-Keith Giles

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