One thing the church has often suffered from is mixed up priorities. We prioritize perfect doctrine over listening to Jesus. We cherish being right over obeying the commands of Jesus.
We also tend to miss prioritize Jesus’ words. His last command in that upper room was to love one another as He has loved us. Yet we, the body of Christ, are ready and willing to tear apart that body for “doctrinal purity.”
I remember, in my seminary days, learning a lot of theology. I also remember students arguing about said theology. There are parts of our belief structure that are abundantly clear. Jesus Christ crucified, dead, buried, and then walking out of that grave three days later. And then there are parts where two Christians can disagree, but never to the point of harming the body of Christ.
It’s also clear that Jesus was serious about us not being judgmental and always being ready to forgive. I’ve often wondered what is the theological dividing line when Jesus would say; “okay, you can be judgmental and stop forgiving when your brother or sister steps over this line.”
I think the priority always remains to love each other as He loves us, to forgive, and to turn off our judgmental minds and hearts. Who are we to judge Jesus’ servants.
We also will prioritize feeding the hungry and caring for the disadvantaged over “going into all the world and making disciples.” We sometimes prioritize the former to the point that many churches have stopped doing the latter.
It isn’t that we shouldn’t care for the poor, the marginalized, and the homeless, but too often it becomes a way to assuage our failure to bring new people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus. We focus so much on the social ministries that we forget the greater ministry of bringing new people into the Kingdom of God.
Yes, honor and support the work of feeding the hungry, caring for the outcasts of society, standing with those who are powerless, but not to the exclusion of bringing new people to Jesus.
In doing so we overlook a rather obvious result of prioritizing bringing new people to Jesus; more hands and feet to do those other things. More hands to feed the hungry, more feet to stand with the marginalized, and more hands to care for the homeless.
It seems incredibly obvious, but it is often ignored. Maybe it is ignored because it is a hard thing to bring a new person to Jesus. It requires building relationships with people who don’t care about our Jesus or who are openly hostile to Him and His church. It means going out of our “spiritual comfort zone.”
It also means that this desire to bring new people to Jesus must be a top priority in our prayers. For the readers of this blog I challenge you to make revival and spiritual awakening a top priority in your prayers. Let’s see together what will happen if we pray, really pray for a new “great awakening” in our nation.