Ever notice how many people are walking around angry at God?
It seems the world is full of people who feel like God has let them down, abandoned and forsaken them. Maybe they had a prayer that wasn’t answered, maybe someone died. Or maybe they suffered abuse and no matter how much they prayed, it didn’t stop. So they gave up on God, figuring He had given up on them.
As a church, we have largely given the impression that coming to Christ means an answer to your problems. We treat Christianity as a fix-all for life’s maladies, like some miracle elixir that heals everything from gout to the consumption. Our prosperity teachers have proclaimed God’s material blessing on everyone who follows Him. Our faith healers have proclaimed God’s desire to heal everyone. Our seeker friendly churches have proclaimed a self-seeking gospel of duty-free fulfillment.
And the landscape is littered with hearts broken by empty promises we had no business making in the first place. Those who were not blessed, those who were not healed, those who were not fulfilled.
When the first Christians decided to follow Christ, they expected the exact opposite. Most of them knew it would cost them everything. They knew they would be excommunicated from the social and religious system of their day. They might lose job and family. Many lost their lives. It was anything but self-seeking.
Imagine putting that on our church website!
“Join us this Sunday for a time of suffering, persecution and death! We’ll be laying down everything we own, everything we are, and everything we hope to be…this Sunday at 10:30 and 6:00.”
But isn’t that what we’re called to?
Maybe our world would look a lot different if our churches were full of people who had “counted the cost.” Maybe our churches would be smaller (okay, they’d be a LOT smaller), and maybe our pastors would have to work an outside job to support themselves. But maybe we could get back to operating in the power of the Holy Spirit.