It seems as if our evangelical pitch when trying to convince people to accept the gospel in America all centers around self-improvement. Accept Jesus: get rid of alcoholism! Get rid of drug abuse! Find your purpose in life! Clean up your language, your behavior and attitudes all in a few quick and easy steps!!
While I realize many people are initially drawn to Jesus because of personal issues (I myself was one of them!), I also have learned that if that attitude is not abandoned pretty quickly it handicaps the life of Jesus Christ within us. Yes, the power of God changes unchangeable behaviors but it does so through death to self not focus upon it. If I am not careful, my life in Christ can become a continuous self improvement course, with the goal to perfect myself.
Unless I’m reading the Bible wrong, the goal is not to perfect ourselves but to magnify Jesus. That happens not by working on ourselves but by laying our lives on the altar and focusing upon what moves the heart of God.
People in America are not interested in death to self and sacrifice by nature so we change the pitch to be one in which they are interested: Improve your life and your living situation! Get rich by serving God! Never have another struggle!!!
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Also, sounds pretty fleshly and very American. No wonder we buy into it in droves. Have you noticed that the only ones getting rich from this gospel are the sellers?
We will NEVER have the move of God we seek until we get rid of self absorbed living, trust God with the changes in our lives and focus on the things that move His heart. He is still motivated by your neighbors lost condition and by the lostness of a world dying without Him.
We can’t really be bothered by that because we are too focused on being happy and healthy and wealthy. We say we need all these things to reach the world. Okay, sell one of your four homes, ask God how much you can live on and still get by and give the rest to the salvation of the lost. This sounds like the same call Jesus gave to the rich young ruler. Prove your devotion by sacrifice. Oh, I see, God hasn’t told you to do this. Well, maybe He just expects us to obey the manual He left us!
I’m hungry, I guess you can tell. I want a move of the Spirit so badly. I don’t know how to make that happen any more than you but I know one thing, I can’t live the rest of my life focused on myself. That is boring, frustrating and too small for me. Come Holy Spirit and move us to a new level in you!