Dependent.

I have been thinking a lot lately about things that we are dependent upon as Christians in America & in the church in America. Sadly, my thoughts have not brought me to the person of Jesus Christ, and the leading power of His Holy Spirit. It would seem as if HE IS NOT ENOUGH.

I have had many conversations with many of you over the past few months about things that we are dependent on. These are things that, if they were taken away from us, we would not know what to do/how to function. We MIGHT survive, but you can forget a flourishing walk with Christ that usher’s in His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

It is very odd to me that most arguments or discussions I hear regarding “church” and what it means to follow Christ are rarely about an individual’s complete denial of self, and pursuit of the Great Commission. Instead, they are about things other than that…things that are seemingly irrelevant compared to the above. We will talk about “how to do church”, “church structure”, doctrine, staff, gatherings, elders, pastors, programs, worship, sermons, podcasts, etc. etc. etc.

I began to think…in my thinking I began to discuss these thoughts with some individuals. I began to introduce scenarios that lacked the above elements (“church”, structure, institution, pastoral staff, programs, worship services, sermons, teaching, childcare, youth groups, small groups, Bible Studies, etc.) and those I spoke with started getting VERY uncomfortable. They began to speak back at me as if I had just denied Christ and the Cross. It was as if it were THOSE things that mattered, as if THOSE were the things that held the most value in the kingdom. It was as if THOSE were the things they were dependent upon, and if they were taken away there would be no way to function as a follower of Christ.

My mind began to wonder to other countries where the believers there have NONE of the things in either of the above lists. They have Christ. They are LUCKY if they have a few pages of the Bible, and enough food to eat on a daily basis. Chances are they do have a thriving community of other believers who are in the same boat as them, completely & utterly dependent upon Christ. You see, Christ is enough for them. They have nothing BUT Christ, and it’s enough. They don’t “need to be fed”, or tickled by some fancy guitar riff in the middle of a Hillsong….song. They don’t need to be entertained by funny sermons or podcasts, and they certainly don’t need a group of professionals planning out their monthly service project or weekly program. (Not all of these things are BAD, however, when we become dependent upon them, and cannot fathom life without them it is DANGEROUS)

It would appear as if we, as Christians in America, are dependent upon a lot of things; Christ does not seem to be one of them. We seem to be too wrapped up in idolatry to notice our need for a risen Savior. Yes, I said IDOLATRY because that’s what we do. We don’t worship Christ. We worship the things in the lists above. We worship & idolize & are dependent upon them because if they were taken away from us our “faith” would fall to pieces. We would be left in shambles.

“Christ, forgive us for our idolatrous hearts. Turn us back to you. Do whatever it is that you must do to cause us to place you above any other gods. We need you.”

What are some other things that you can think of that the church in America may be dependent upon? (Things that an average Christian might not know what to do without if it were taken from them)

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8 thoughts on “Dependent.

  1. Aaron,
    I can only speak on what I have seen on many occasion – but this should also be pointed out:
    We so often depend on Christ to “be there” without us acknowledging his presence, that we assume that He WILL be there in our committees, in our 15 piece drum kit, in our witty one liners to “add” to the Word. I’m not in any way saying that without our acknowledgment of Christ’s presence, He is absent mind you. We all are aware (hopefully) that Christ can be found in everything, but we cannot demand Him to be where we want Him – “for His glorification” nonetheless. I think THAT is where we are screwing up.

    If we are desperate for His Love, we need to be able to understand WE need to be where HE is. Our desperation can then only leave us dependent on Jesus. And my friend, you know that our dependence leads us to do His work, and His work is much mightier than a bi-weekly meeting, a well recorded and adored pod-cast, and even a stirring blog ;]

    By the way,
    My confession is that my excuse for not finding a “home church” (that’s a conversation I would LOVE to have with you later) in the year that I have been here has been “that we need to be fed, and we haven’t”.
    Thank you for helping me realize what was wrong with that.

    Mae

    • Thanks for sharing your heart Mae. I’d LOVE to chat with you guys about the “finding a home church” issue…I’m already excited about the conversation that will be had…this is an issue we encounter on a weekly basis whether it be through a student we’re training, a person we meet, or and email I receive regarding this exact thing. I’ll look forward to chatting with you and Aemon about it.

  2. I can totally relate to your thoughts on this. I tried to make this point recently at a “Bible Study” and was asked not to come back. The “pastor” said that it was memorizing scripture that made someone a complete Christian and “pure” before God. It’s amazing how upset people get when you start saying crazy stuff like love God, trust the Holy Spirit, and follow Jesus.

    • No freakin’ way he told you NOT TO COME BACK!? That’s unbelievable man! Keep rockin’ and rollin’ in your pursuit. Let me know how things go with you guys when you get together on the 20th…

  3. thanks for using the word “idolatry.” I don’t think too many people, myself included, would label themselves as idolatrous, but that’s exactly what it is. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the word “uncomfortable.” We’ve accepted the lie that we deserve and are entitled to comfort. It’s pretty simple to accept the Bible’s words on the surface of things, but when it comes to intentionally implementing them in our lives (like Christ’s command to pick up our cross and follow Him or to love others as ourselves) we all too often fall short, most often for the reaon that it might leave us uncomfortable in some way.

    • Ya, we, as Christians…or “religious people” REALLY don’t like to admit we’re wrong, or have faults…at least not “BIG/Major” faults like IDOLATRY. We may struggle with other things…but NOT IDOLATRY…ghasp! I pray that we all begin to realize where in our lives we may be found guilty of idolatry, repent, and accept the grace of Christ to move forward. Thanks for sharing!

  4. You know, I got into a short debate with the guy who shared a message at my church on Sunday. He said that they saying, “Love the sin, hate the sinner,” isn’t in the Bible because God hates sin, so he hates the sinner.

    Appalled, I sat in my pew – fuming. My dad taught me that if you have odds against a brother, you go settle it with him, so that is just what I did.

    He kept trying to justify that God hates sinners from a verse in Habackuk (I hope I spelled that right). I told him that the Old Testament was the old covenant that God had with Israel and his people and after Jesus died on the cross, there was a new blood covenant which really changed things around. So, if Christ HATES sinners, then why does the Bible say:

    Romans 5:8:
    8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

    and the Message puts it even better:

    Romans 5:6-8

    6 -8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

    You know, I’ve started to wonder, “Is God not enough because we’re not really teaching WHO God is?”

    I mean, seriously, sometimes, we just take a few good traits of God and focus on them and other times we focus on his wrath. Is he “not enough” because we’re not looking at the full picture of WHO GOD IS, instead of who we want God to be?

    Is he not enough because he falls short of the standards we place for him – because we’re misinterpereting scriptures?

    Just a little nugget to chew on.

  5. Pingback: church, my personal Lord & Savior. « A Holy Discontent’s Weblog

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