I met with a friend the other day to talk through some of what life has thrown each of our way. In doing so, he brought up a recent conversation he had with his men’s group. Following is a mixture of my words with his.
Yesterday they were working through the first half of 2 Thessalonians. Long story short, they were thinking about how to grasp the relevance of Paul’s message of hope and end time revelations to this young, struggling, persecuted church. They were trying to grasp it within our experience with “church” in a society/culture that could arguably be categorized as “Christian” or “Post-Christian.” When they broached the idea that our brothers in Africa and the east were experiencing a concept of “church” that was much more similar to the Thessalonian church, a friend leaned in and offered something rather profound.
“The difference is that these churches are in a very real fight in faith, while we are fighting boredom in our faith.” Is that really true? If so, is it due to indifference? Or, is that due to the fact that I want to be coddled? Is it due the fact that I don’t want to cause waves or deal with the hard stuff? Are we becoming so set in our ways that coddling is the preferred way of life rather than causing a wave now and then in order to tell the truth? Are we choosing to only understand half the story – our loving God and forgetting about our disciplining God?
I find it interesting that we as a church (maybe I should use me) know how to answer the question, “what does it mean to be born again?” but cannot answer the question “What does the Kingdom of God mean?” I understand why we can answer what it means to be born again – that is a HUGE issue, and I know that Jesus talked about it in John 3 – He actually talked about it twice in the Gospels. But I just learned today that Jesus mentioned the Kingdom of God “110” times throughout the gospel.
If God mentioned something 110 times, should we have an answer for that as well? Are we so fixated on salvation that we have forgotten what it means to be disciples? Are we so fixated on salvation that we have forgotten the fact that we are suppose to live life differently. That due to our relationship with Jesus we love people differently. We forgive people differently. We do life differently. If this all because of the desire to be coddled?
Maybe we are afraid of getting hurt. Maybe we are afraid that someone will take our comments to personal. Maybe I am afraid to talk about this out loud in fear of being shunned. ..in fear of not being liked or being viewed differently. But isn’t that the path that I choose? Isn’t living a life that is Christ centered living a life that is different. The path of least resistance is not always an option.