A Church Made of Wood

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, October 15, 2015 3 comments

by Steve Risner

I generally write blog posts on the creation/evolution debate or something along those lines. But as I was reading Romans 12, I was reminded of something my pastor said in a message he gave probably earlier this year. To be honest, I’m not sure why Romans 12 reminded me of this, but I feel it must be for a reason. Romans 12 is about being a REAL Christian. It’s about the “doing” of Christian life.

The chapter starts out with the highest call: worship God with all you have and all you are. Do not be like the world, which cannot please God, but be like God wants you to be. (That is the Steve Risner paraphrase.) It then goes into a list of ways to relate to mankind. In short, it’s Paul giving a bit more detailed account of what Jesus said are the two greatest commandments: Love God and love people.

What’s this mean and why am I talking about it? The church as a whole, I believe, has lost the love of the lost. I find it’s far easier for Christians to come down on unbelievers for their bad behavior rather than just love them. You will not find anywhere in God’s Word the command to judge the unbeliever. That is, in fact, God’s job. Our job is to love God first and love people second. Everything else is a detail. Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying the moral law and other things aren’t of importance. They’re obviously very important. But if we’re not loving God and loving people, our morals are fake. We need, I believe, to stop building a church out of wood, grass, and stubble as 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 says. Our acts of service toward God and people should be Godly—made of gold, silver, and precious stones. Wood, grass, and stubble will be burned away, showing God that our strength was found in ourselves and that our motives were not pure.

The thing is, today in the church most of us are working without the Spirit, I feel. We are working in human strength for human goals and calling it by spiritual names. God is not interested in what we've accomplished of ourselves. He is not concerned with our strengths or our abilities. In fact, it's out of our weakness that God truly uses us and is found in our actions. We fail often times to pray for the Lord's leading or to wait on Him for an answer. We frequently pray for God's blessings on OUR work, but we are seldom about His work. We trust more in our strength and ability than we trust in His. We need to rest more in His power and His leading than in what seems to be the right thing or the Christian thing to do. There are many occasions where the “right” thing or the thing that seems the “Christian” thing to do is not what God has called you to do. Does that make sense? If you're a missionary, were you called into that or was it just what seemed right to do? If you're a pastor, was it God's call on your life to be a pastor, or was that just what a good Christian should be? This can be applied to any situation.

So Romans 12 is full of wonderful things God expects of us—things that show Him we love Him and things that show others our love for Him and our love for them. These are the basics, I think. As I said, Jesus said to love God and love people. Paul is here expounding on that—showing us how to do those things.

So what are you going to do about this? This reminds me of an analogy my pastor used: You are a parent (not a big stretch for me since I have 5 kids), and you tell your child to clean his room. “I need you to clean your room. Put your clean clothes where they go. Put your dirty clothes in the laundry. Get rid of your broken toys. Organize your good toys. Put trash in the garbage. Make your bed.” Your son says, “Oh, dad, what a great idea!” and he goes upstairs to his room. He comes back down in an hour or so.

“Did you clean your room?” you ask.

“Well, I thought your direction was great. It was clear and perfect. Your thoughts on what I should do were excellent. I believe what you told me to do was exactly right.”

“So did you clean your room?”

“I really thought about what you said. I studied the words you used in your command and really liked this particular translation of it. I found it most helpful in drawing out the more subtle meanings of your words to me. I meditated on them for some time and I believe I really know what you intended when you told me to clean my room.”

“So did you clean your room?”

“I sang songs about cleaning my room. I wrote poems and shared your words with my friends. They, too, felt like they connected with what you said about cleaning my room. For hours I sang heartfelt songs about room cleaning and organizing in general—how your thoughts on a spotless room were perfect.”

“But did you actually do what I said?”

“Oh, I got online on a forum that discusses clean rooms. They were very helpful in expounding on what you meant and how, over the centuries, the true meaning of your words likely changed. They went into detail as to what 'clean' means and what 'organize' means as well as why you wanted this to be done in the first place. It was very enlightening.”

“I just need to know if you cleaned your room or not.”

“I went to a seminar about parental expectations on room cleaning. We shared each other’s struggles. We made cute little phrases to share with each other that really don't have any meaning because we said them so much. But I really felt like after I cried about it for a little while and held my hands up, I truly felt the calling on my life to be an excellent room cleaner.”

“I really just want your room clean. Can you please do that? It's been long enough.”

This is a strange story, I realize. It's maybe not even connected to the passage of Scripture the way I feel it is in my mind. But I think some have been about the business of studying God's Word, in spending time in fellowship with other believers, in discussing in groups the Word of the Lord and the Christian life and our struggles. We spend time telling other believers why non believers are so bad and why this Christian isn't really a Christian or why this book has it all wrong. God just wants us to love Him above all else and wants us to love people—whether they're easy to love or not, whether they're right or not, whether they're moral or not, whether they're lovely or not, whether they're a believer or not… you get the idea. Love all people. Don't confuse what I'm saying: I am not saying accept all people. Love and acceptance are not the same thing. In fact, sometimes it's an act of love to reject something. But rather than spending all this time heaping up a huge pile of wood, grass, and stubble, we should be building out of gold, silver and precious stones. Yes, study. Yes, fellowship. Yes, do all those things. But don't lose sight of the goal—win every person you come in contact with to Jesus.

Again, this blog post is a little different for me and, to be honest, I'm a little uncomfortable even throwing it together because I'm not sure if it makes sense. However, I believe, after praying and reading God's Word that God wanted me to write this. It's for someone. Maybe it's just for me. I need to live this Romans 12 life much better. Blessings.

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Anonymous said...

Loving an imaginary friend. Odd.

JD70 said...

I really don't know what your comment has to do with the original posting.
When people actually have a relationship with the God of the universe, He isn't imaginary. If you so desire not to have a relationship with Him . . . well . . . that is your choice. Have great day.

Steve said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your comment and for reading my blog post. I'll assume you wouldn't qualify as a part of the Church which is who this blog post was primarily written for. But, nonetheless, I appreciate your time and input.
I'll also assume, since you didn't expound any further, you are trying to make the claim that God/Jesus is not real. There is literally no way to argue logically that there is no God and the only logical conclusion after this is that the God of the Bible--the Christian God--is the One true God. It also follows that Jesus Christ did exactly as the Bible states--live, die on a Cross, and rise again 3 days later. I have written on all these topics and would love to hear your thoughts on each of those blog posts.
Why did you refrain from using your name? Are you embarrassed by your comment?