Christians have forgotten how to love.
You get the feeling that the rest of the world looks at Christians and sees no marked difference enticing them to follow Jesus. Our divorce rate is the same. Many times, we’re just as bitter, angry, depressed and selfish as they are. Certainly they must have at least as much understanding of what’s going on in life as anyone in the church. And they get to sleep in on Sunday.
Our problem as Christians begins with how we look at each other and how we believe God sees us. All the serious Christians are telling each other how to go deeper with God. More time with the Lord. More praying. More attendance. More giving. More abstentions from worldly things. If you strive enough, God will see how serious you are and will reward you with escalated authority in the kingdom of God. You’ll see healing and miracles and thousands of people will come to the Lord when you open your mouth. Then you will know you have been pleasing God — if only you would go deeper.
Unfortunately, this thinking sets up the Christian pecking order. Christian ‘A’ who prays for two hours a day is more spiritual than Christian ‘B’ who only prays for 10 minutes. And if Christian ‘C’ prays for someone else and they are healed, well, Christian ‘C’ must be really close to God.
What we’re chasing in all of this is spiritual success. We’re looking to prove to ourselves and those around us that we are God-approved. God-approved people should be followed. Listened to. Supported. What God-approved people say is right too.
This isn’t a new attitude in the church. Paul helps the Corinthian church steer away from these types of ideas. They wrote to Paul asking him how to determine the pecking order in the church. They wondered if someone who could speak a prophetic word was superior to an apostle. How about people who prayed for the sick and saw them recover? Are those Christians on top of the heap?
Paul responded to their question in 1 Corinthians 12.
It takes many parts to make a single body…
He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy. Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. – 1 Corinthians 12:20-27 (CEV)
To sum up: God purposefully didn’t give you everything. If God gave you every spiritual gift and aptitude, you would be utterly self-sufficient and you would have no need for “the body”. I think secretly, this is what we want. And so we pursue it like it is something that can actually be accomplished.