I came across a blog entitled 4 Disturbing Trends in the Contemporary Church and want to ask the following four questions.
1. Where does our confidence come from? God’s Word or our own words?
Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
I believe our confidence comes from the fear of the Lord that is based upon his word in the context of healthy, growing, personal, and explicit (clear and committed) relationship.
2. Does our confidence come from God’s Mediator (Jesus) and the Motivator (Holy Spirit) or men’s assumptions (philosophy), experiences (know how), and patterns in the past called “tradition” or patterns in the present called “trends”?
1 Corinthians 1:4
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
I believe our confidence comes from Jesus who laid down his life for us on the cross removing fear of men, guilt and condemnation from sin, and shame from separation. Jesus died and rose again to give me the life that is lived by his resurrection power and redeeming truth to walk and work with the Holy Spirit who motivates me with humble confidence, holy freedom, and honorable ambition to respond to the Father as his son and to the Lord Jesus as his servant to show and tell the excellencies of his grace, goodness, greatness, and glory.
3. Does our confidence in our good works make us feel entitled, enslaved or established?
“The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.”
I believe that it is a battle we fight daily to say, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” But the question is how do we know that we show in our speech and actions that our good works are the demonstration of God’s grace and glory?
The Lord judges. Jesus judges our hearts. The Holy Spirit leads us to repentance.
The feelings of entitlement should point to us that we are taking the credit or glory to our name and comes up in our critical or judgmental spirit of ourselves and others.
The feelings of enslavement should point to us that we are seeking the approval of people including ourselves and comes up in grieving or quenching of the Holy Spirit who motivates and works in us and for us.
The feelings of establishment should point to us that we are seeking Jesus power and truth in guiding us in good works and guarding us from both the sense of entitlement or enslavement.
The more important question is, “Do our good works result from enjoying God and produced for the enrichment of others?”
4. How are you doing in putting on the armor of God to fight the “glory battle” each day?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
We are made, built, designed, and created to bear the image of God. We want glory. We want honor. We want to win. We want to succeed. We are also called to trust, believe, fight, and battle the enemy. Our enemy is the devil. God makes it very clear. The Scriptures make it very plain. Our enemy is Satan and his schemes that cloud our vision, confound our mission, and confuse our values.
How are you doing in putting on the armor of God? How are you doing in your “glory battle”?
I pray that we seek Jesus and his judgment by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in light of this awareness of these four disturbing trends in contemporary church.
I ask the Holy Spirit to remove distortions, correct refractions, and restore clear view of God to us so that we might present our bodies as living sacrifice in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish.