Thursday, January 17, 2013

Laid Down Daily

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies”
(2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

I am saddened and at the same time inspired by the stories of Christians persecuted worldwide. Pastors jailed in Iran who will not recant, an aide worker hunted and murdered in Asia and another takes up her ministry, Christians burned out of their churches and homes in Indonesia but Christ is not abandoned. Such grace, such honesty and courage, such support and respect for one another is seen in persecuted communities.

I am equally saddened but completely uninspired by the persecution I see in our own churches and communities of faith that are far from the dangers of foreign fields. Churches which often thrive and grow for a period but whose leadership stalk and destroy those who are viewed as competition inside of and outside of their own denominations.

Pastors who oppress worship leaders or dynamic youth pastors whom they feel outshine them, Boards who treat the pastoral leader as an indentured servant and are hypercritical of his family. Group leaders and teachers who do not grow up those under them in order to keep the talent hidden. I have often encountered more passive aggression and plotting in the House of God than I have in corporate offices. Sometimes there is more simple courtesy to be found in the Tents of Wickedness.

How shameful is it to read that opening scripture from the standpoint of experience within the Christian community as opposed to the persecution that was the mainstay of the Colosseum?

Do I overstate? Hardly. We have all seen it. Felt it. Felt shamed or excluded by it. We may have done it.

If the statistics I read in numerous publications are to be believed, exhausted and diminished servants are leaving their positions and their denominational churches in droves often with their marriages and hearts in tatters.

We need some healthy self examination. We need to make room for one another and find joy in one another's success. We need to have short memories for failures-our own and other peoples. We need to allow Christ to meet our needs and to preach the funeral for envy and jealousy.

I recently read an article about Christian gangsters. Religious spirits whose tongues do not know the law of kindness. Cliques closed to those who do not dress alike and think alike and acknowledge the hierarchy or sing out of the hymnal. May God forgive us. May He know us differently this One with a towel tied around Him.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.- James 3:13-18

It is difficult for hell to find an ally in a life laid down daily*. I doubt there really are such things as five year plans in the Spirit. We are only promised today. 

Let's do something real with it.

From Peacemaker Ministries:

We are committed to building a “culture of peace” that reflects God’s peace and the power of the gospel of Christ in our lives. As we stand in the light of the cross, we realize that bitterness, unforgiveness and broken relationships are not appropriate for the people whom God has reconciled to himself through the sacrifice of his only Son (John 13:34-35; Eph. 4:29-32; Col. 3:12-14).

That laid down life was also speaking to Ann @ A Holy Experience and she said it beautifully.

*You lie down today, yesterday you lay down, in the past you have lain down. :)

1 comment:

  1. From the enemy's view, why persecute the Church if they're happy to do it to each other? Instead of Church Gangland, we could be living in Gennesaret.