One of my favorite verses in scripture is “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” Philippians 4:8. I admit I would think of this verse with warm feelings, maybe even a bit shallow. I would think of this wonderful paradise a sort of utopia or even comparable to that feeling on Christmas morning. As I have been reading and studying it other ideas began to pop out at me–a very different idea than I have had in the past.
The first virtue that the apostle Paul states was “whatever is true.” This got my wheels turning. Is truth easy to think about? Does it even maybe give us pain at times? When Isaiah saw the truth of God in all His holiness, He began to see the reality of His sinfulness. He said “Woe is me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah was clearly in anguish over this revelation. He had been exposed. I don’t know about you, but I have encountered times in my life that I had to face the truth about something and it was painful and even sometimes traumatizing. This sort of puts a damper on the warm fuzzy feeling.
Can we really think genuinely of what is noble and right and pure, lovely and admirable if we don’t first come to know what is true? Truth is what gives reality meaning. If we don’t first define truth, we are left defining all the latter attributes by what standard? Without truth, you will have a false security in everything. I understand that the only way to genuine righteousness, genuine purity, genuine nobility, genuine compassion, genuine love, and genuine forgiveness is when I understand the very truth of my own brokenness. When we cross this threshold from death to self and walk into true life eternal within the person of Jesus, we will find the absolute blessed freedom that we longed for. He does not fail. He will not fail.
In His love,
I am having my struggles with “the church.”(The Universal church) I am searching scripture for truth and searching my heart for error. Take my words as a genuine outcry of concern that is burning within me.
These are my struggles. We are living in a post modern era where the views favor tolerance and political correctness above all else. Is this biblical and is this something Jesus would want us to do?
I see a sleeping church(“the church”) that is desensitized by sin and more absorbed by self and self-fulfillment.
Truth in love trumps tolerance and political correctness. How will any one really understand love and grace unless they are convicted and see how desperately wicked they are. I fear since we are so desensitized, it’s not clear enough to just gloss over and say “repent of your sins and be forgiven.” This phrase is doing nothing to convict hearts. Do we want false converts or do we want to see genuine transformed lives? Do we want to fill pews or do we want to do the will of God? I think more than ever people are making licenses and compromise to take pleasure in sin since “God is love and His grace abounds.” People want their cake and eat it too.
Are we afraid to tell the truth? Are we watering down the gospel to massage the intellect or to warm the heart? The gospel is good news no doubt, but I’m a firm believer that this good news is not much more than fluff and a “feel good” anecdote without the convicting realization of the bad news that precedes it.
Every day I am confronted with my own sinful nature whether it be with my struggles of pride or envy or just the moment that I let my tongue loose and say something that is not Christ-like. I know the motives of my own heart and that in itself makes me cry out for mercy even though I haven’t acted on it.
I sense a pride in “the church” that wants to be the one that is more right with God. This is across denominations. “Our church is packed and blessed so we must be doing it right.” “Our church may not have as many people so this is proof that we are doing something right, in the world not of the world right?” “Our church is more doctrinally sound, this pleases God more.” “Our church is not as stiff so it must be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I could go on and on. What is all this doing but being a dividing force.
I believe the enemy works really hard to keep “the church” bickering and arguing over who is more right with God and who has really screwed up. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t make judgments on the church when by scripture we are compelled to. If I meant that, then what I’m writing would be a contradiction. I am, however, convinced that pride is a very real thing in our hearts and it’s presence is not exempt behind church walls.
I see division more and more politically, culturally, and I see it among “the church”.
I believe we need to test our motivations of judgment within the church. Does my judgment do anything to further the advancement of the kingdom? Is my judgment within the will of God? Or does my judgment stroke my ego or elevate me? When I say “me” I also mean the church. Does this elevate God or does it elevate a denomination?
I close with this. Truth is not in any one denomination, truth is in Jesus. If we are motivated to lift up Jesus then He will be lifted up. If we are motivated by pride and ego to elevate “the church” God help us.
I’m so deeply concerned by this, Lord help me to lift you up.
Any comments or thoughts on this subject are most welcome.