Yesterday we talked about WHERE joy should come from (God), WHAT gives God joy (sinners getting saved), and WHY we may not be feeling joy (lacking evangelism).
If this is what gives God joy, and He is the one who is supposed to be giving us joy, then we should be focusing on this too right?
This was something that hit me this last week. As I was evaluating my own life and looking through Scripture I just realized how much we should be emphasizing evangelism. Yet so many churches preach and teach more about cleaning up lives versus saving souls. We mention the need for evangelism but it clearly isn’t the focus of our ministries. We have become a “new age” Pharisee.
My overall challenge to the Church was that if we are lacking joy perhaps it is because we are focused on the wrong things. In the same way that so many people think temporary things will give them joy, Christians focus on a more “spiritual” temporary thing- sanctification. Yeah, it sounds weird at first glance that sanctification is a “temporary” thing but it is! Think about it: once we get past this life the only thing that will remain in effect is our salvation. Those who were not saved will not enjoy the next stage and regardless of how clean you were leaving this place you will either be there or not.
We have this mindset that evangelism is important but the MOST important thing is that we clear out our lives from all the unrighteousness that we have. Most of our prayers, most of our discouragement, it’s all based on our mistakes or unrighteousness.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with requesting freedom from sin IF it’s coupled with being actually on mission. Remember I have said in the past we, as a church, often call in for air support but we are 20 miles away from the battlefield. We pray John 14:13
“oh God you said You would do whatever I ask in Christ’s name, so that the You may be glorified in the Son. You said that ANYTHING I ask for in Christ’s name You will do. We are praying in the name of Jesus, make me better….”
He looks down and says I am. I am allowing you to be broken and experience struggle so that you can remember there are people out there experiencing the same thing but have no hope, they have no one to pray to for help! You lack joy because you likely aren’t living correctly. You lack joy because you aren’t living on mission. You lack joy because like the Pharisees you are so focused on righteousness that you lost the reason why Christ came for us.
John the Baptist cleared the path and got rid of the focus on creating white washed tombs. The question is: will you maintain that cleared path or are you letting it become overgrown with religiosity once again. Are you focusing on truth or have you simply become a modern day Pharisee. Let’s pray.
We need to evaluate our intentions and see if our priority is the Gospel or self satisfaction.