Don’t take that title personally. I’m not — I know I said “us”, but really it’s not about you and me. It’s about “them,” those tragically shallow Christians. It’s certainly not about anyone quoted in this blog post. I thoroughly appreciated Preston Sprinkle’s commentary on some points from Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins. As with any book there are points some people will agree with and some they won’t. As for me, I’m fond of the premise: Love wins. How cool is that?
Did you get that? The fullness of God is not in your individual heart and it’s not on some mountain top away from civilization. It’s in the church—that messy gathering of broken, high-maintenance people that we “have” to go to every Sunday (and if you’re in the Midwest, every Wednesday as well). Paul goes on to call this church the temple of the Lord where “you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21). Again, Paul prays that “you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19), which he already said resides in the local body (1:23). This is why God gave us spiritual gifts (Eph. 4:11-12), so that the body of Christ would be built up, made mature, and become unified where the “fullness of Christ” would radiate (Eph. 4:12-13).
All week I’ve been pondering deep thoughts…yeah, me and Jack Handy. Was that his name? The Saturday Night Live guy.
My son, Aaron, preached a series called the Deeper Life, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.. I’m leading a Bible study next week on God’s call on our lives “We Are Called”. And my daily devotional readings this past week are all feeding the same theme. So all of this is coming together, converging on my heart and mind. And then this article by Preston Sprinkle. It kind of pulled it all together for me. “The fullness of God is not in your individual heart… The fullness of God is in the church.” It’s the church that keeps me from living a shallow Christian life.
Now, to tie that in with God’s call on my life — the same for me as it is for everyone else — to live in communion with God and people: simply doing what I’m led to do, which is often a matter of doing what is put in front of me, doing the next thing, then enjoying the blessing of a better life for it, and finally, finishing well. Because there is an end point for all of us in this world. It is appointed for people to die and after that…
Well, after that, I want to see God face to face and hear him say, “Well done.”
But until then, I do want to live a good life, one that is pleasing to God. I want to love and help my neighbors along the way. All along the way, right up to the finish. Help my neighbors, no matter the disguise they wear.
So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about, studying, and writing about in my secret notebooks. And if it’s not too prideful to say, I want to be above average as a follower of Jesus. Especially after hearing this quote from A. W. Tozer, I want to be above average. I’ll stop with this…another bit I borrowed from Aaron’s sermon. He quoted A.W. Tozer. “To speak of the deeper life is not to speak of anything deeper than simple New Testament religion. …The deeper life is deeper only because the average Christian life is tragically shallow.”
Huh. How do you like them apples? I don’t think the good preacher meant to insult any (or all) of us, he was simply making a significant point. And as for me, point taken.
I continue to be encouraged by the whole idea that love wins…It’s a very basic thought. God is love, so yeah, He wins.