There is a great misunderstanding about walking as disciples. Many see discipleship as receiving information about the Bible and Jesus. Jesus describes it as “learning to obey” not just learning. If we want to see a rising up of authentic Christianity we need see a return to authentic discipleship.
People are hungry for something authentic. They have often been let down by family, relationships, and the culture around them. When they glance the direction of God’s people they often fail to see something authentic that gives reason for hope. Why, because there is often an important ingredient missing in their lives.
I recently had to have my computer wiped clean and then the operating system reinstalled. I had obviously downloaded some malware along the way. I later realized that some of it was probably from websites that offered tools to help clean up what was already causing problems. Isn’t that how the enemy often works offering help with problems that only cause further problems.
At first what was happening was hardly noticeable but as time went on it spread and affected most of my essential internet based programs. It became so bad I was hardly able to use it. In the same way malware can infect computers causing them to operate in a way the creator never intended so Christians and churches can become infected by viruses.
There are two operating systems in the lives of Christians and churches, flesh and spirit. The Spirit tries to keep them operating according to God’s design. The flesh always seeks to introduce malware to corrupt and lead us away from His design. Gal 5:17-18 For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; because these are opposite the one to the other; so that you may not do the things which you have a mind to do. (18) But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Jesus gave us an unchanging principle about how to live in His life. Five times as He calls us to follow Him in the Gospels He expresses this principle, “if you try to get life first in a self centered manner you will never find it, but if you first lay down you life for My sake/cause and the gospel, then you will find the life you are looking for.”
Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, Luke 17:32-33, Matthew 16:25 “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake (cause) shall find it. (NASB)
What is His Sake/Cause? He spelled it out 6 verses earlier in Mt 16. Mat 16:18-19… upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (19) “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…
There is unfortunate malware generated by our flesh that affects the operation system of local churches. It must be identified, cleaned up, and sometimes churches need their God operating systems reinstalled. It is a selfish idea that churches exist to make my personal life better rather than His design that my life exist to make the church better (Eph 4:15-16, 1 Cor 12,14, Col 2:19, Rom 12:1-6, 1 Pet 4:10-11). We do actually find tremendous aspects of His life in the church when we lay our life down for His cause but if we try to find it first, apart from laying down our lives we never will. If leaders and churches cave into this virus instead of the church becoming a beautiful bride expressing the His life she will become selfish expressing something that doesn’t look at all like He intended.
Here is a short video that humorously shows how this malware of self centeredness can affect people’s attitudes towards churches. Let’s get rid of the viruses before they turn local churches into black holes of self-centeredness.