We preach against sin, but have we ever developed the anger of God when it relates to lost human potential? Have we ever looked at human lives and felt our hearts break, not because of the sins committed but because of the potential left unattended?
An apostolic environment sees character development as a commitment to maximizing the life of every individual and seeing each and every human as a treasure of God. We've been negligent in our examination of what it means to be re-created in the image of Christ.
The same week I read that I also read Isaiah 1:13-18
13 Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts;
the incense of your offerings disgusts me!
As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath
and your special days for fasting—
they are all sinful and false.
I want no more of your pious meetings.
14 I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals.
They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
15 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look.
Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen,
for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.
In this Scripture, God presents a problem, His heart's cry and then a solution to the problem. The Israelites had gotten to a point where their ceremony had everything to do with them and nothing to do with God. They cared more about the ceremony for the forgiveness of their sin, then changing their lives to do the things on God's heart. God's heart is revealed in those verses showing that He desires for His people to be ministering to the poor, downcast, and brokenhearted. He wanted the Israelites to do those things, instead of spending all their time trying to be right with God. The solution God presents for this dilemma: I will erase the sin issue between us, I will make your sin as white as snow! What was His purpose for doing this? The purpose was to free up the Israelites so they could go and pursue the things on the heart of God.
Because of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we now live in the new covenant and this Truth of our sins being as white as snow belongs to us. We have been freed up from ceremonies so that we can be released to do the desires of God's heart, and not have to spend our time "getting right with Him." Yet, if you go to many American churches today, what is the main focus of the sermons: your sin, how you blew it this week and then creating an environment where you can once again "get right with God." I am personally struggling with this and have started to wonder if God could still speak the message in Isaiah 1 to the American church today.
We are spending so much of our time and money building our nice church buildings and making sure we are "right with God" every Sunday, that we have begun to lose focus of the gospel and the freedom Christ purchased for us!
Recently, my mind has been captured by the heart-wrenching pictures of starving children in the horn of Africa:
And as I drive by field after field of sky high corn, I can't help but think that there is something more that we can and should be doing as the body of Christ then is currently being done. I can't help but think we need speak the message of the truth of the Gospel: that we have been set free so that we can go out into the world and restore and redeem humanity to the way God created them to be. Who better to do it then those who have direct access and freedom to go into God's presence? Beloved, Sunday after Sunday we have 1,000's of Christians sitting in pews having their wings clipped. They are being reminded of how they blew it, how they still are not measuring up and taking time to "repent." However, according to Ephesians 4:12, the purpose of the group meetings of the body of Christ is to equip the saints so that through unity we can go out and be His body. We were redeemed so that we could FLY. Let us embrace the truth that our sin no longer separates us from God (if this thought trips you up, check out my post Journey to Understand Grace), that we are His beloved Children and that He has good works prepared in advance for us to do. Let us look into the eyes of the lost and share with them the depth of God's love for them, the plan and purpose He has for their lives; to see them as the TREASURE of God.
I wrote this post earlier this week, and have been sitting on it. Last night, my husband read me an advertisment out of a Christian magazine about a new magazine called: Reject Apathy. From their website, here is a glimpse of what their magazine is about:
Such overwhelming need awakens our
compassion and tugs at our heartstrings—
but it can also do something else ... it can, well, overwhelm us.
Apathy is not only a product of indifference,
apathy is often a direct effect of inundation...
Reject Apathy is focused on five key areas:
Loss of Innocence, Creation Care, Preventable Disease, Poverty and Violence
Each represents a part of our “whole-life ethic”—
an ethic that believes every life is created by God,
has a purpose and should be given an opportunity to live fully.
Each of the five key areas address barriers
that stand in the way of this opportunity.
You'll find opportunities to engage in world change,
as well as encouragement to invest time and energy locally.
Our prayer for the stories and ideas here
is that they'll help you see it is possible to change the world.
It is possible to make a difference.
It is possible to reject apathy.
So with that I leave you.
P.S. Don't forget to check out my fan page of Facebook: For His Glory Alone. My posts automatically will load to your facebook page, and any other random thoughts I decide to share:).
P.P.S. The information about Reject Apathy is all on my own. As I stumbled across it and it related to my post:)