“My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.” – 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
I want you to think about whenever you first gave your heart to the Lord. Was it a certain song that drove you to repentance? Was it a situation that was put in your way by God Himself to try and get your attention? Or was it just a good sermon that the preacher preached on Easter Sunday and you gave your heart to the Lord? Whatever it might be, I want you to go back and think about the very thing that drove you to say the “sinner’s prayer”.
For me, the first time, I did it because my dad did it. I’m just going to be honest. I wanted to swim in the baptismal. When the pastor took dad under, I was in the back swimming around doing flips in the water…while mom wasn’t looking! I had no idea why I did it. I did it just because. I was about 8 or 9 years old when that happened, but the second time (the real time – to me at least), I was at a Disciple Now with my youth group at the time. I was 12 and guess what…it wasn’t a good song or a good sermon that drove me to my knees. It was just someone asking me a simple question: Do you truly know Jesus? And I answered no…no, I don’t.
I had been told all my life by people at school and even people at church that my works is the very thing that will get me to Heaven. Just as long as I’m a good person, I’ll be okay. False. I wasn’t a good person until I met Jesus. I cussed like a sailor…probably worse. I lived two lives…one life at church and to my parents and another life at school. I got it down. I knew how to fake people out, but it was one night when God decided to get my attention, and thank God that He did. It took someone that was a close friend of mine to call me out and tell me what I was doing wrong. Did I like what they had to say at first? Nope, sure didn’t…but I knew they were telling the truth. I truly believe God sent that person in my life just for that one specific time.
I knew God, but my actions denied Him…as Scripture says. I prayed the right prayers, went to church, prayed before our basketball games with the team, and lived the life as a so-called “Christian”.
Sometimes, the truth hurts. It doesn’t feel good, but it is needed. Paul told the Church at Corinth that what they were doing was wrong…and I assume that the Church of Corinth knew that, too. Paul, in simple terms, said “If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t tell you that you are doing wrong.” And I agree. If we want to be like Jesus and Paul, we have got to learn to call people out….IN LOVE!
My Pastor yesterday said during his sermon, “This might be one of the hardest things I will ever tell you, but if I wasn’t a Pastor, I wouldn’t tell you.” In other words, “I am going to tell you what is wrong and when you do wrong, because I love you enough not to let you keep doing what you are doing.”
In my life, I have tried to help people walk in the light and point them to Christ. Some of them follow after God, some don’t. Some choose to do wrong, and some choose to follow after God’s truth, but the Church has to get to a place to where we want to tell people the hard truth. I’m not talking about fruitless arguments. I’m talking about going to a person in love and telling them what they are doing is wrong, instead of going to other people and Facebook about what they are doing.
Listen reader, if you truly love someone, you will correct them. Go to THEM…not somebody else. When Jesus corrected people, He went to them personally. Do as Paul did and don’t use persuasive words, because just Paul, you should want their faith to be genuine. If you lie to them and tell them everything is okay, then what good have you done?
I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t have a loving wife, a loving family, and loving friends that stood behind me and supported every decision I made – whether it was right or wrong, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Even though I hated it at the time, I needed some of those good whoopin’s. I needed the times when my mom would tell me that I was wrong. I need those times when my Pastor will confront me with what I am doing wrong, instead of pretending everything is okay, when really I am tearing down the vision for the church. I need those times, because I AM NOT PERFECT. We all need a Paul in our life to tell us what we are doing is wrong and to help guide us on the right path.
Sometimes, the truth is hard…and it is the best truth. Take guidance from people around you to tell you that you’re not perfect and that you have no idea what you are doing. I don’t know about you, but I sure need it! And I’m thankful for it, too! May we never neglect the Gospel of Christ, because the hardest, but greatest truth you will ever preach is Christ and Him crucified!