{Online Book Study} Allies to Adversaries: The Pandemic of a Distracted Church

Phil-Bio-PhotoWritten by: Phil Zinck

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (New King James Version)

The Brexit drama has more twists and turns than the most pathetic of soap operas. Colleagues become enemies, power plays and back-stabbing hijack political ambition, all at the expense of a people that have no choice but to strap themselves in a ride it out.

History is replete with other examples of how allied leaders and countries over the ages have perpetuated the cycle of

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A sad commentary on the human condition. Fortunately we never see this play out in the community of faith believers that we call God’s church . . .yeah, right!!

As sad and disturbing as the stories of broken relationships on the world stage can be, even more disappointing are the hardened battle lines drawn between peoples who each proclaim to be born-again believers, committed to the cause of Christ, yet cannot seem to make room for our differences or imperfections that come with being human. We acknowledge our common belief in one sovereign God and His unmerited favour manifested in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, yet are quick to be offended, “to take up arms” in a manner-of-speaking – against our very brother or sister in Christ because of something they said or did that rubbed us the wrong way or even. We can even get our knickers in a knot over differences in small “t” theological nuances. As my friend, Pastor Phil Taylor once said, “We too often find ourselves majoring in the minors!” Regardless of the trigger, our unity of purpose, our commitment to our common goal, once again finds its normal place in the cheap seats as this counterfeit call-to-arms takes center stage once again. The pandemic of the distracted church claims another victim. If I can be honest with you, I’ve been there myself on more than one occasion and truth-be-known did not always honour God in my actions or reactions.

Meanwhile our true enemy, the prince of the power of darkness and evil and his host of armies continue to be resolute in their quest; united in purpose, committed in their goal, to steal away from our God as many souls as they can.
You see, we are all imperfect beings, all on our own journey to meet God, all trying to learn what a life the gives glory to Him should look like. So what is it about us, then, that we can be so easily distracted from our eternal purpose, so intolerant of the imperfections of those around us yet be so justifiably indignant when such intolerance to our own imperfection is thrown in our face?

Things brings me back to my opening verse, the first of 9 “tough love” challenges laid down by Jesus in His Sermon to the crowd of followers. In this verse Jesus addresses the root cause of the pandemic of the distracted church. The New Life Version translation of this verse sheds a light on what “poor in spirit” represents with my commentary in {}:

“Those who know there is nothing {naturally} good in themselves are {blessed}, because the holy nation of heaven is theirs.”

Poor in spirit. To acknowledge that there is nothing naturally good in us. To have no spiritual assets in our own strength. To see our want, lament our guilt and yearn for a Saviour. This is salvation through repentance at its core and absolutely necessary for any person to receive God’s gift of eternal salvation. But this spirit condition cannot be limited to the event of our salvation because we are helplessly human and if left unchecked will naturally revert towards selfish, arrogant pride. And that is all the enemy needs to distract the community of believers – God’s church – from our daily calling, to be salt and light to a world that desperately needs a Saviour.

A proud spirit, a distracted church. Yes, I am sure that you and I could come up with other plausible causes for the distracted church of today. Yet at the core of each possible reason we will find the absence of a poor spirit, a contrite spirit that depends solely on the mercies and grace of God and in its place a spirit of pride, arrogance and self importance. If we – if I – would only remind ourselves daily

That we are nothing without Christ (John 15:5),

That we can do amazing things for the Kingdom of God when we fully and completely rely on His saving grace (Phil. 4:13), and

That it all starts and ends with our commitment to shed the imperfections of our human nature and replace them with the pure and holy character of God (Rom 12:1-2)

then we would see advances in God’s Kingdom. For His glory and praise!!

One comment

  1. Pauline Peters says:

    What a great challenge and word, Phil!! This is so true…if we would surrender our all…pride, arrogance, poor attitudes to God, he can make something beautiful of us for His Kingdom’s sake, and His will would be done. God help us, help me!

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