The Disappointment of Being a Christian
We Christian’s struggle to understand what it means to be a Christian and how we are supposed to live. Every day we live hopeful lives but almost daily we are corrupted and weakened by the culture in which we live.
Quite frequently we encounter writers, speakers, and individuals who claim we can live a higher spiritual life. The claims range from God wants you to be wealthy and healthy to those who say we must live an austere life spent in lonely contemplation. Most of us are confused at best. But many of us are deflated and broken and depressed by our experience of the Christian life. We are disappointed by what we see in others. But mostly we are disappointed by what we see in ourselves.
We love Jesus. We want to serve him. But the most revolting thoughts and desires pass through our minds. How can any a Christian think like that or feel so dark in our soul? I don’t have to list the sins. We all have them. We try, and we stumble, and we fail. Our hearts are filled with darkness and impulses that deeply embarrass us before God. We are simply shocked that our fallen human nature is so much alive.
Our approach to church has always generated a false sense of who we are. We go to be seen with smiles on our faces that lie about our condition. Hate and selfishness and insecurities rage in our souls but still, we put on our church face. We greet each other and sing peppy songs that drown out the noise in our souls. We give our money, and we listen to happy and encouraging thoughts from the pastor.
We have church all wrong. Church should bring us into the presence of the Holy God who has made promises to us. We need to be honest before him. We are terrible sinners being saved by grace. The church is made up of the know-it-all, the authoritarian, the ignorant, the gossip the hyper spiritual, the proud, the rich, the selfish, the narcissist, the whiner, the “needy,” the lazy, the criminal, the sensual, the sexual deviant, the drug user, the drunk, the violent, the weak and more. We all are sinners as base and vile as any. As contrary as it may appear, those whose faith is in Christ are saved! It all seems so contradictory.
Remember what Paul said? “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV.
We are saved by a holy God who is pure beyond our imagination. We know what we are when we stand in his presence. Our worship should always remind us of who God is. It should be grand and regal. It should declare that the one who made heaven and earth and flung the stars in the heavens is our God, our Savior, our Lord. When we do, the grime of sin begins to fall off. Our souls are renewed. And we remember that in spite of who we are, God loves us and bit by bit God is making us into what he promised, sons and daughters of God.
Our church time together is like polishing precious stones. We “rub” against each sin and personality. We treat each as family. Over time the rough, ugly stone starts to look like a polished jewel. Each week we need it. We need to be told who God is, who we are, what God has done through Christ, and what he expects of us. This is what church should be-not platitudes, not godly entertainment, not psychological adjustments-no, we need the confrontation of God.
Thus, when we worship the Glorious, Holy, Righteous, Pure, the All-powerful, the All-knowing God, we are imagining heaven. We long for a time when we will no longer be burdened by our broken nature. And we partake of the wisdom that has been hidden through the ages:
“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—” 1 Corinthians 2:6–9 ESV