You ever get tired of church? Today, there are plenty of churches who focus on numbers. Attendance matters. Not just because the money raised in offering helps to keep the lights on either. They matter because, for some, numbers mean success. Why do you think team owners try to recruit the best players to come play in their cities? Having good players—having someone to entertain your fans—helps to sell out pristine stadiums. Sadly, we’ve tried to appropriate this approach in our churches. We put together search committees to recruit the best preachers, the best worship leaders, and the best church administrators, so we can have a packed house. We find people who can help entertain fans of Jesus rather than help transform followers of Jesus.
Love this quote from pastor R. Kent Hughes:
Spectator sports and spectator Christianity produce the same thing—fans who cheer the players on while they themselves are in desperate need of engagement and meaning.
What’s the purpose of church? What’s the purpose of community? I believe it’s yielding believers who have transformed hearts. I’m tired of all the church talk showing up in my Facebook timeline. Talk means very little to me. Thankfully, it means very little to God too. Jesus says as much. “This peoples honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8 ESV).
The Christian life is all about closing the distance between your mouth and your heart. That puts us in a tough place doesn’t it. Because we can all use church language. We’re blessed. Going in. Coming out. Highly favored. We can do all things through Christ. There’s nothing impossible with God. But our actions don’t line up with other mandates in Scripture. Don’t let any corrupt communication come from your mouth. Be angry, but do not sin. Take up your cross and follow (Jesus).
The Psalmist knew about this tough place. And he addressed it the way we should all address it. “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek'” (Psalm 27:8 ESV). Notice his response to God wasn’t my MOUTH says to you, but MY HEART says to you. It’s the heart’s response that transforms. And that heart’s response is a creative work of the Spirit of God. So maybe, just maybe, our mouths need to concentrate on asking for God’s Spirit to prick our hearts to transform our walks to reflect what our mouths’ say. Praying for just that today.