Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, March 03, 2006

An Atmosphere of Defeat in the Church

There seems to be an atmosphere of defeat in the Christian Church, and an easy acceptance of this atmosphere. There seems to be no awareness that this atmosphere is poisonous. This noxious environment has its own euphemistic vocabulary. The phrascology sounds spiritual unless you are listening, hoping for something biblical.

Here are a few examples:

"I've been struggling lately." It sounds like a warrior in the fight. However it means, "I am putting up a slight effort in a losing battle with my favorite sin."

"It was a learning experience." It's nice to learn something. However it means, "I sinned all last summer" and "I don't know how to keep from repeating it next summer."

"I'm only human" means "I do not want to be godly."

"Everyone makes mistakes" means "We are all incompetant but not immoral."

The Bible speaks of "struggle" but with winning in mind.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." Ephesians 6:10-15

The Bible speaks of "straining" but winning the gold.

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:13-14

The Bible speaks of victory and triumph.

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him." 2 Corinthians 2:14

The Bible speaks of Power.

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength," Ephesians 1:18-19

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

This does not seem the atmosphere of conversation in our churches today.


Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

I've more than once caught myself saying, "I've been struggling with..." and amended it to, "I really haven't been struggling very hard with...."

Gordan said...

Amen, pastor. The icing on the cake is the fact that when a Christian does somehow manage to appropriate truly Scriptural insight into his speech patterns, his brethren whisper behind his back about his overconfidence and lack of humility.

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

I've been mulling this over in the back of my mind all weekend. I think when we (well, I, at least) say that we're struggling with sin, we usually mean it in the same way as struggling with an illness. We've got it, and we don't much like it, but there's really not all that much we are doing or can do about it. It's another symptom of our having bought into a passive, irresponsible, worldly victim mentality.

What we ought to say is that we're struggling against sin. And, as you say, the attitude we ought to have is one that expects victory. This starts with believing the promises of God -- that He will complete the work He's begun in us, that He'll sanctify us through and through, that donning and wielding the full armor will actually be an effective means of fighting sin, that it is truly possible to have victory over sin.