Christians Who Fail to Do

I have been away from this blog for a little while now and I am finally starting to feel the draw to come back and write.  I believe I have stated before that Christians have a responsibility to share aspects of their lives with other Christians in order to help them know they are not alone in their struggles.  The biggest struggle I have been dealing with is “not wanting to”.

There is not a person alive who can honestly say they have never not wanted to do something.  Whether it be going to see family or going to work, there are activities that we just do not want to do.

Often we will end up doing the activity, as there can be negative consequences if we do not, but there are many activities that we do not perform, simply because we do not want to.

When was the last time you saw a homeless person on the side of the road looking for money?  Did you avert your eyes as not to make eye contact with the person as you drove by?  Did you justify to yourself that they were most likely going to use the money to buy alcohol so you were doing them a favor by not giving them money?  Perhaps it was another excuse, like you wanted to help out but all you had was a twenty or larger.

Last month, I had a friend who has struggled with trying to remain celibate approach me to say they were going to hook up with an old friend and have sex.  I asked her if she was wanting me to talk her out of it and she reply “No, unless you feel moved to do so”.

How many times have we put that condition out to God?

God, if you don’t want me to do X, send a sign.  Otherwise I will assume it is ok.

It doesn’t matter that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Bible speaks against something and we will struggle with incredible guilt, we want to do what ever it is.  It is the simple truth Christians often ignore, but we want to do things that feel good at the time.

At the time, I did not feel like going back through the speech about how bad she would feel after she had sex or God wants better for her than simple physical pleasure.  I honestly did not want to have to muster the emotion strength to do it again, so I didn’t.

I told her that she already knows that would be said and that she should honestly do what she wanted to do.  Christianity should be based on the voluntary submission to God and not the forced compulsion that usually comes from guilt and shame.  She did not end up having sex as the guy disappeared, but she was not saved from the shame based on my action.  Maybe my inaction allowed for God to demonstrate His power by making the temptation go away.

Regardless of what the outcome was, I did not feel like doing what I was supposed to do.  I did not feel like being emotionally supportive to her during her struggle and I often wonder what kind of guilt I would have shared in based not on her actions, but my lack of action.

I want to share more stories like this, as everyday life is where people are struggling.

John MacArthur and his Strange Fire

I was listening to a radio program the other day and heard about the Strange Fire conference that is scheduled for later this year.  The speaker said something about the need to warn about the dangers of charismatics, so I had to go to the website and see what they were even talking about.

The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire.

For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter. This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.

So what should be our response?

Strange Fire is a conference that will set forth what the Bible really says about the Holy Spirit, and how that squares with the charismatic movement. Through keynote speakers and seminars, the conference will expose the dangers of offering strange fire—and what the church can do about it.

The questions about and controversies surrounding the charismatic movement are more than theoretical. Your view of the Holy Spirit influences your relationship with God, your personal holiness, and your commitment to the church and evangelism. And He calls for our worthy worship of Himself.

I wish people would come out and say what they feel needs to be shared instead of making you wait and pay to hear it.  If this is really that dangerous of an occurrence, wouldn’t you want someone to know now instead of having to wait months to be set straight?  What if they die before the conference?  Are there no negative results of offering this “strange fire”?  What is this “strange fire“ that we are supposed to be offering up to the Holy Spirit?

I understand why people react the way they do when they encounter something that they do not understand.  I wish I could say that “charismatics” did not take the ideas to far and end up going astray, but I cannot.  That is true for every church and every theological group.  Just as I can honestly say that not everyone at my church has had an authentic encounter with God, I can say that about John MacArthur’s church and every other church that is in existence.  It amazes me at how much division there is within the Church.  If you think about the amount of time spent discussing theology instead of sharing the Gospel, I often wonder if it is worth it.  Of course, if a Christian thinks you might be going to hell for following a false doctrine then I understand why they feel the need to call it out.  I just wish they would not post pone the event or make people pay to find out what they are going to say.  Since the conference is really only going to attract those that agree with their position, I do not see much change coming in the near future.

I heard something the other day that I think pertains to this situation.  The statement was something to the effect that thankfully God uses people who do not think the way I think.  I am not sure who said it, but it keeps things in perspective.