Is the church’s single-minded emphasis upon rescuing souls hampering the growth of the church?
For many individuals this will seem like a very controversial question and whom would say that obviously the more souls that are saved, the larger the growth of the church. However, I would like to question that assumption and suggest that this mindset hampers an individual’s spiritual growth.
As a Christian in America, I can easily become distracted from the important things. I’ve been realizing how easily I can forget important principles and truths from Scripture. So, I’ve compiled a quick list of 5 things we Christians often lose sight of and forget:
“My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name” ~ Cornerstone, Hillsong Worship
All too often we put our hope in something other than Christ. I often put my hope in the political outlook or in a candidate. Many people put their hope in finances or in having a good job. Others put their hope in relationships. Let’s remember to put our hope in Christ first. “Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” ~ Psalm 130:7
“The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” ~ 1Peter 5:8
As human beings, we have a disadvantage of not being able to see the spiritual realm. Because of this, we often forget that there is a spiritual war being fought all around us. God’s angels are valiantly fighting the Devil’s minions in an epic war. Our disadvantage is that we are a part of the war. But, being unable to see it makes it very difficult to participate. We need to be aware that the Devil is trying to destroy us and is constantly out to oppress us with his demons, and to tempt us with sin. We need to take of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and use it daily in our fight against evil (Ephesians 6).
“This world is not my home, I’m here for a moment…I’m bound for glory.” ~ Bound for Glory, Vertical Church Band
Those of us who live in the Western world, and in a first world country, probably struggle with this concept more than those who don’t. Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven (Matthew 19:27). It is very easy to let the comforts of our lives, and the good gifts God has given us, to become too comfortable for us and for us to trust them for our salvation. We need to remember that we are only here for a short time, and the comforts and joys in heaven will far outweigh what is good here! Let’s fix our eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2)!
Persecution is a Privilege, Suffering is a Given
We are guaranteed to suffer in this life (1Peter 4:12-19). God tells us throughout Scripture that difficult trials that we face are given to us in order to refine us and mold us to be more like Christ. We need to redefine how we think of “good”. Rather than it being what we deem as enjoyable and comfortable, we need to realize “good” means whatever draws us closer to God. We also need to realize that not all of us will be given a chance to experience hardcore persecution. Scripture teaches it is a privilege. Some of us will sigh in relief… But we need to remember that “a good follower of Yesu (Jesus) is like the ox – ready either for the plow or the alter, for service or for sacrifice.” ~ Safely Home, Randy Alcorn pp.347
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~ Ephesians 6:12
The political authorities in this world who are doing evil, the mean kid at school, the bad cop who is racist, all of these people are really just puppets for the Devil. They have souls, and Jesus died for them. Our fight is not with them; it is with the Devil. So let’s pick up our Sword, and our quiver of Prayer, and not spend our time fighting them, but fighting the enemy.
Have you ever thought about what heaven will be like? I do all the time. Someone once told me that we are like glass cups. Jesus gives us the free will to choose what shape and size we will be made in. As we choose what we want to look like He slowly molds us with fire to that shape (see Mark 9:49). Some of us will choose to be large glasses, others only want to be small glasses. Before we choose, however, Jesus lays out the conditions: none. He tells us he will make us as small as we want or as large as we want. But He also gives us a promise. He promises to fill us up entirely when we get to heaven. When we enter heaven we will be full!
This is a great analogy. It shows how Jesus promises us that He will satisfy all of our needs in heaven. He will fill us up completely. It also goes to show that our choices can limit or increase the amount He will fill up. Each of us will be perfectly content in heaven, but some of us will be filled up more (more intimately close to Jesus). Amazing isn’t it! The power we hold. Ironic isn’t it that we will gain more by ‘seemingly’ giving it up?