If our congregations are supposed to be "completely humble and gentle," as Paul told the church at Ephesus, how's that going at your church? Any slackers on the humility-development front?
Paul told the believers in Rome: "Let your love be sincere." No pretending to be nice to anyone while secretly resenting them. No rumors, gossip, factions, or fake geniality. What's your church's plan to eliminate insincerity?
Far more books get written about how to get more people in your church than how to get the people already in your church to have more humility and sincere love.
We all want the people in our churches (including ourselves) to be transformed. But too often it takes a back seat to the relentless demands of programs and services and sermons. We end up giving "Six Steps to a Better Attitude" talks. And no one's life is transformed.
What's the real route to transformation and godliness?
The answer nobody wants
There actually is a pattern that New Testament writers use with remarkable consistency. At the heart of Christian faith is the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. A friend of mine noted that theologically, this same pattern, death and rebirth, is also the foundation for our sanctification. Paul tells the Colossians: "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
Transformation happens when this becomes an ongoing pattern: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry" (Col. 3:5). Death is the prerequisite to resurrection, the new life God intends.
I saw this lived out in an interesting way when I was preaching at a Catholic, charismatic, African-American church on Chicago's South Side. The temperature was ...