She’s drowning in sorrow, sin, confusion, and fear. She’s crying out for help, but no one hears. She’s tried church. It didn’t work for her. Too many rules. Too much trying to live up to someone else’s expectations of who they think she should be. Too many masks to hide behind and she can’t remember which ones she’s supposed to be juggling right now–perfect mother, perfect wife, or perfect Christian? The masks are falling to the dirt beneath and she’s about to be exposed. What now?
So she runs and hides. Hides from the church, hides from her friends, hides from those she tried to fool with her good behavior. She wants to look right and be right, but she can’t measure up. She feels she’s let everyone down–her family, her friends, all those who thought she had it all together. But she can’t hide forever. Now they will see her–naked and exposed. The ugly truth revealed.
But maybe that would be better. Maybe she should just be who she is–a sinner in their eyes–and forget trying to live up to something she’s not. Enough of the masks! She can be what she wants. Do what she wants. Feel what she wants. Say what she wants. They can whisper in the shadows of the steeple if they want to. They are just a bunch of judgmental hypocrites anyway. She doesn’t care anymore.
Can you hear the cries of those who are falling away?
They come to church believing we have the answers. They pray a prayer and believe they have found the answer. But because we fail to truly disciple people and teach them HOW to have a relationship with the Lord and walk in the Spirit, they struggle with sin, doubts, confusion, and most of all, the feeling of failure. Most of the time, they aren’t in any accountability group because we don’t want to get that involved in somebody else’s business. And nobody knows their struggle. Nobody reaches out to them. Nobody shows them the love of Christ. Instead, we find some reason to judge them for not coming to church, and we just move on to something else, the next “ministry” that God has “called” us to.
Jesus called us to one thing: love
I call my blog “One Thing” because I tend to complicate things in my life, and God has used several Scriptures to remind me to focus on one thing: seeking Him. So I blog about worship and the Word of God because I believe those are the means by which we seek Him. But the Lord has been reminding me over the last several days that He called us to do more than just love and seek Him. He also called us to love others.
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’
‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.'” (Mark 12:28-31, NIV).
I love that Jesus quotes the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith found in Deuteronomy 6:4, because it declares that the Lord is one. See, there is still just one thing. Because God is love.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
From Psalm 27, where David declares that he is seeking one thing (to be in God’s presence) to Luke 10 where Jesus declares that only one thing is needed (to sit as His feet in worship), God is drawing us into His very presence, which is LOVE.
Paul, the greatest apostle who ever lived, said that we could speak in tongues, prophesy, have faith that moves mountains, and give all we have to the poor, but if we don’t have love, we gain nothing. Spending time with God should drive me, not to just know more about the Lord and grow my relationship with Him but to share that love with others. Seeking His presence will drive me to my knees in repentance and convict me of my lack of love.
So how do we show that love to others? By treating them as we want to be treated. By reaching out to that mom who is overwhelmed, the wife who is grieving the loss of her husband, the young adult struggling with purity, the new Christian who needs guidance and discipleship. By offering a helping hand, cooking a meal, showing up and reaching out. By understanding someone else’s struggle is real, even if it’s not the same as our struggle. By acknowledging that we don’t have it all together and being willing to be vulnerable and learn and grow together in small groups and with accountability.
Yes, I still believe that seeking Jesus is the one thing in our lives that will ever matter at the end of the day. But the more of Him I seek, the more like Him I want to be. And God is love. Without that, all my worship is just loud and offensive. A resounding gong. A clanging cymbal.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence” (1 John 3:18-19).
A heart at rest in His presence–that’s the one thing. And it only comes through love.
Who needs your love today?