As the church becomes more apathetic and violence increases throughout the world, many believers will become distracted with tangents in 2017. Many Christians are hoping for a better year in 2017, but it’s not based on anything relating to the Lord. Avoiding tangents in 2017 is my primary focus.
On the other hand, I have been forewarned to be prepared for serious challenges ahead. I am convinced that there is no better way to deal with the coming storm than with authentic relationships which form the backbone of a strong, viable community of believers. Our only safety net for what is coming is an authentic community of believers. Some of you are thinking I am talking about your local church. NO….! The modern church membership invention is a far cry and a departure from what a real authentic community is.
There is a glimmer of hope. At this moment, there is a groundswell building and awakening of believers happening all around us. It hasn’t been documented because it carries no human flag. It’s not happening in one location, and no denomination can own it. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is at the forefront as He builds His Church in 2017. The Holy Spirit is cutting through every human and religious system and gathering to himself those who will listen to His voice at this time.
The enemy knows he cannot stop the work of God so he has chosen another strategy to slow down the work of the Lord. If he can convince the Lord’s people to chase anyone of the myriad of tangents, he can distract them from where they can do the most good.
In the first century it wasn’t difficult for illiterate farmers and fishermen to stay focused on the simple gospel in the midst of their daily persecution. With no Internet, TV, or Bibles, the most important thing remained the most important thing. Today, for all extents and purposes, there is no life-risking persecution in America. The majority of believers can read and write and are inundated daily by television and the internet concerning every global event. Christian resources are also easily accessible and the Christian ear gets subjected daily to a smorgasbord of topics and opinions. Everyone is following their personal favorite Pied Piper. The opportunities to get unfocused are everywhere.
I believe our number one priority was clearly spelled out for us in the earthly life of the Man Christ Jesus and in scripture.
1 John 4:20-21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
I am not saying, “Do you have head knowledge of these words, or do you verbally preach and teach them?” I am saying, “How well does your life preach them?”
The Bible says clearly what will cause this generation to stand up and take notice of us and our message, so why are we focusing on any other thing?
John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Our primary focus and teaching should be how to walk in 2017 in authentic relationships so the world can see our love for one another. I am not moving from here. I will not downgrade it and say we are getting close. My heart dreams about the future but my focus is on loving those the Lord brings into my life today!
We can’t even walk in first century relationships and the Bible says we should be growing from glory to glory. When is the last time you heard a teaching on how to walk out these verses in our daily life?
Acts 2:44-45 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Acts 4:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
Do you know of anywhere I can go and see this in 2017?
Now that you understand what I believe to be the primary focus, let me point out some of the more popular tangents. I know it will upset the proponents of these things, but I challenge each of you to present their proper focus to the Lord in the light of scripture and the Kingdom of God on earth today.
Here are some of the more overt ones (Avoiding Tangents in 2017) from my Social Media networks;
- Politics and Nationalistic Pride (Arrogance)
- Focus on Israel and its people
- Divine healing and miracles
- The End times and the Rapture
- Focus on Apostolic leadership
- The non-violent Gospel debate
- Institutional vs Organic Church
- Prosperity / Empowerment Teaching
- Success by Measurable Results
- The IHOP prayer movement
- Marketplace Increase/ Influence teaching
- The whole Fight for Justice
I could go on and on…….
Most of these distractions are an absolute misuse of our time specially when the Lord has so clearly outlined His principal purposes for us. Mind you, I am not saying that all these tangents are bad pursuits. I am saying that in many cases the Lord’s best is being detained by our good. In fact, I am convinced if we put God’s primary purpose first, all the other things we wish for will line up accordingly.
Matt 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
We prefer to emphasize anything that will make us feel right with God without having to face our brothers and confront our lack of love. In 2017, those things will not satisfy and will not produce the desired results.
Why do some of us gravitate to tangents? I believe most of us want to feel affirmed in what we are doing with our life. I can only speak for us who have left the religious system since we left it has been very hard. First, we had to confront the fact that although we physically left our “Egypt,” we had left with lots of spiritual and emotional baggage. Our hearts and minds were still carrying the virus of the human system. We had never seen anything else. All we knew in our spirits was that we didn’t want what we had left, but we didn’t know how to do things any different than that which we had been taught. Most of us were taught that the basis of unity was unanimity of doctrine and practice.
Our first meetings naturally digressed to why we hated, that which we had left, but that neither built us up nor helped those who came with their own issues. After a while, most went their separate ways. Some returned to the system and others escaped having to deal with all the drama by hiding in the Catholic church and other high church/high control systems. Some just went home and stayed away from any form of gathering while they healed. All in all, the desire to return to first century-like Christianity is honorable, but it has been a hard road for many of us.
When we finally awake to the fact that Christ must be central, relationships/community do not depend on doctrine, and love/sacrifice must be the foundation for true incarnational Christianity to be formed. It is then that we fully realize how daunting the task is in this skewed (screwed-up) society. Loving people where they are is the toughest task in all of Christianity. It’s a messy, thankless, uphill journey. Add to that, the constant rejection from those still in the religious system and own blood family and the journey is almost impossible to bear.
So, what do we do? Instead of changing grown adult diapers and dealing with others’ personal drama, we naturally gravitate to that which brings us affirmation and joy – good pursuits, but not God’s best. I challenge you to stay engaged. None of our tangents will ever mean anything if we cannot manifest a loving caring community to the world. May His grace and mercy be continued to be poured out on us.
May 2017 be the year we voluntarily choose to focus on what makes the Lord smile and His heartbeat race with passion. But brother Jose, what if we say no? Then because the Lord loves His Church, 2017-2018 will usher in a God sent economic shaking/depression that will go down in history. This massive global event will literally evaporate anything on our schedules that is not rooted in loving the Lord and our neighbors as ourselves.
I choose voluntary because I would rather not have to live through the second option.
Greetings to all my English-speaking brethren whom I have not yet met face to face in the USA, Australia, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, The Philippines and anywhere else the Lord will send this to.
Jose L. Bosque