Called to Worship – Issue #2
by Phil Mershon
American evangelicals are largely guilty of exercising emotional Christianity. Our faith is often based more on how we feel about God, salvation or end times than what we believe. Stated so bluntly most of us would deny the charge. But if we look at our lives, we’re guilty as charged.
How many of us wake up and decide to skip our quiet time because we’re tired or too busy? And yet, later in the same day, we complain that we feel so distant from God. Are we really more distant from God because we skipped an appointment? No.
The Holy Spirit lives eternally in the hearts of all Christians. He can’t get any closer to us. But instead of believing Jesus’ promise of his eternal presence, we cling more to our temporal feelings, which are as fickle as political polls. (By the way, did you hear about this poll on God’s approval rating?)
That’s why we struggle with Jeremiah’s vision of the good and bad figs in Jeremiah 24. The words and message are plain. The implication unveils the great reversal taught in all scripture: the humble will be exalted; the last will be first; seek first the Kingdom and all your other needs will be taken care of.
God told Jeremiah that the exiles would be restored while those who remained in Jerusalem, presumably hoping to defend and protect the holy city, would be rejected. The exiles obeyed God and received abundant blessings. The disobedient remnant and deserters to Egypt received eternal curses.
Our emotional antennae scream, “Foul. Unfair.” And it’s true. They all deserved curses.
But we should be slow to complain. Our salvation is based on an even greater reversal. The Perfect One died so that the imperfect, shameful ones (you and me) could live. God laid down his divinity so we could become sons and daughters of God.
When we grasp the reality that we deserve eternal condemnation, but instead receive eternal life, our emotions should be undone. Instead, we too often skip over this tremendous mystery and look for something new and fresh.
Music sometimes helps me ponder these truths. Two songs to consider: Brian Moss‘s fresh arrangement of the old hymn, “What Wondrous Love is This”
And Bruce Carroll‘s song The Great Exchange.
May God make the mystery of the Gospel fresh and alive in our minds. May he fill our hearts with gratitude for his mercy. May he convict us of our pride and wandering eyes.
How about you? Do you see emotions-based faith in your circles? How do you respond to the great reversal?