In a world full of breaking news, information and sound bites, sometimes it’s difficult to get to the heart of the matter. There are many good reasons in this world to extol the virtues of the Christian life and the values we hold dear, but in the end what good are they if we can’t live life together well?
So, it is the case with good things getting in the way of the Best Thing. As the people of God, it is clear to this generation that we are capable of building huge organizations and mega church buildings, but we have failed to impact this society. Could it be that in writing volumes of books and millions of songs, we have missed the essence of the very message we seek to proclaim?
Can we just live this life together with others well?
This world just has one thing to say to us.
“Thank you for your profound dissertations on how to get to heaven, how to feel good about myself and how to live the perfect Christian life, but where is it? The Christians we see are popping the same pills we are for anxiety and sleeplessness; they are consumed with chasing the same dollar we are, and are as fearful about the future as we are. I am not nice, but neither are they, and they are supposed to have Jesus. So where is it? Where are Christians living life together well?”
Surely by the diagnosis above, we as the Body of Christ can be found guilty of failing this generation. I think the problem lies in what we lead with. What does our life say louder than our words? Let’s look together at some reasons why we find ourselves in this predicament.
The Lord is not a cause. We as the people of God are famous for our role in helping orphans, advocating to end world hunger, crying for freedom, providing liberty and justice for all. The world would agree with us that these are all great causes, but they wonder why year after year why the problems still remain.
We will spend countless of hours in prayer meetings and countless dollars in ways to explain the need, but fail to see what is right in front of us. You see the problem is always over there, with those people far away. As long as Christians can remain detached, they can claim to deal with the problems of this world. God forbid that it would touch our own homes!
What happens when it’s your daughter that is pregnant out of wedlock and your “holy testimony” that is at stake? What happens when it’s your best friend who is laid off, and he needs your help feeding his family and paying his bills? What happens when your “BFF” got drunk and wrecked her car, and she needs a ride to get to work or pick up her kids from daycare? It is at these moments when the cause hits home so that the real gospel can shine. Will you put those dirty kids in your car, or will you let that lady with a bad reputation sleep in your house?
Can we live life together well, or only at a distance? Can we deal with causes on a daily basis, or just in theory? Our Lord spent more time with the downtrodden and outcasts of this world in his short 3 years of “ministry” than most Christians have in their entire life. Still we wonder why we have no impact on this society, and why this generation doesn’t take Christianity serious as a solution to the problems of this world.
The Lord is not an agenda. We talk about His awesome presence, reigning with Him, filling the earth with His glory, uniting the Body of Christ, and having apostolic influence in our localities. Here is what the world hears; Blah, Blah, Blah………….
Here is a free newsflash for the church today. Most people of the 21st century can smell an agenda a mile away and some even farther. Our Lord had a simple single purpose. He wanted to let the world see how much the Father loved them, period. Yes, the Bible says that the early saints filled all of Asia with the knowledge of Christ, but that was the result of their living life together well daily and not an agenda they carried or led with.
Here is how Paul puts it in the New Testament. 2 Cor 2:14-16
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
The early disciples led with Christ, not agendas. His nature, His love, and His ways are the very essence that caused His fragrance to be spread wherever they went. Let Christ be diffused through our lives daily, and we will not need to talk about uniting the Body of Christ in Jacksonville. We will not need another prayer meeting either! Here is a comment by my spiritual father Don Atkin;
“There is no greater manifestation of Satan’s success than believers living in the same community, but not abiding in the same communion.”
So, what’s the answer? Quit faking it! Quit coming up with yearly band-aid events that only promote our division, not our unity! Quit chasing special seakers and groups to highlight your ministry success! Find out what the word KINGDOM really means and how it works beyond the four walls of your building on Sunday morning. Quit promoting your church like the world promotes a brand. Quit competing with your brothers, and let people go wherever, whenever, and even if never!
I can hear some of you saying, “Brother Jose, you are not being very loving right now.” Our Lord Jesus was never very kind with those that were busy flaunting their supposed importance in public and leading His people in foolish exercises.
We cannot build church buildings fast enough to affect this society, but we can build real family like the early church did and transform the world. Let’s just live life together well today before a hurting world; let God handle the results and get all the Glory.
The Lord is not a formula. Who says our behavior will change if we follow the perfect doctrine or come to understand the perfect interpretation of the Bible? Most Christians know enough bible verses and have heard enough sermons to last them a lifetime, but yet their daily walk from Monday to Saturday is sorely in need of lasting transformation and change. I am for Truth, but Truth is a person, not a set of do’s and don’ts.
If a friend is diagnosed with cancer, their family member dies, they are fired unfairly, or they live with a drunken spouse, they don’t need your help to get a ticket to heaven. What they need is someone to love them in the middle of their suffering and confusion. They need hope. They need to smell the fragrance of Christ and know there is still good in this world. His creation will be naturally drawn to the Creator. His fragrance is His nature (for God so loved), not our “Holy” and perfect doctrine.
If our Lord Jesus learned obedience by the things (daily trials) He suffered, what better formula has this modern 21st century church invented? We can teach them to believe until we are blue in the face every Sunday, but they will not learn until they “be + live” through it. The religions of this world demand a series of “doings,” and if you don’t, they leave you feeling guilty. Christianity is about being Christ, not like Christ or almost like Christ.
The bible says; 2 Peter 1:3-4
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature,
There is absolutely no excuse for failing to live life together well on this earth. In Him there is not anything impossible.
Col 1:27 which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
After two Masters degrees, 17 years of pastoring, and 30 years of ministry, my gospel has been condensed to a very short list. Honestly, I have thrown out much more than I have kept. Can I live life together well with those the Father has placed around me? Can I love without an agenda? Can I love unconditionally? Do I feel compassion for those that speak evil of me, and am I willing to return good for evil? Can I give of myself without expecting anything in return?
That my friend is the essence of His fragrance; all the rest is man’s religion. So, in all honesty are you living life together well with those you come in daily contact? When you come around, can others smell the fragrance of Christ? If you couldn’t answer yes, it’s time to look at what you call the Christian faith and your definition of church.
Jose L. Bosque