I was very frustrated today, with myself, with my church, with life in general. I am so sick of the Christianity that I know and even with my own pathetic attempt at living out the Christian lifestyle. It has been full of a lot of failure the past few years and mediocre standards. My church is simply a by product of Western Christianity and its emotionalism, double-faced people in attendance, and inability to purge the crowd of well-wishers and nay-sayers (like myself). The body as a whole is good for nothing and every attends, at least in my mind, to make themselves feel better. I see very few people involved in actual personal ministry.
That being said, I got home and at some point decided to read a little in the Word. Our church is trying to have everyone read through the New Testament in 90 days or a year (I can’t remember which). Our pastor said that if we got behind that it was best to simply pick up with today’s reading and go from there, don’t try to catch up. So that is what I did. I picked up with today’s reading that happened to begin with Acts 26. I came across a passage that I am very familiar with (one of the papers I wrote while at Liberty dealt with the books of Acts and the gospel message that was preached throughout it). Acts 26:20 reads, “Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem, and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.” And right there I found encouragement. Here I was trying to wrap my sinful fingers around the Grace of God and the love that I have heard preached and been taught about so much. But this verse jumped out at me and screamed, “Keith, there is work to be done and you are slacking as though the Grace of God is all you care about!” This verse says that the Christian is to WORK. It is not saying that a person has to work their way into heaven, but it is saying that if you have turned your life over to this Jesus that Paul preached about then there is WORK to be done and that work is a part of repentance. It is supposed to be a part of the appreciation that I am to show God for saving me from my stupidity.
That is what I want. I want to work for God and not feel guilty about working. I want to look at the Christian lifestyle as work, as a career of sorts. Do I want to think that my works are earning my way into heaven? Heck no! But by golly if I think that this Jesus is so great that He can save me from being eternally separated from the God who made me and wants a relationship with me forever then I better shape up and act like it. I better work as though I believe it and as though I am grateful for it.
I am sick of church. I am sick of tithing to a building and single person. I am sick of singing songs about worshiping God that only a handful of people actually believe. Give me songs that talk about life and God’s help during those times. Give me hymns from the old days. Give me gospel that changes a man’s heart. Give me contemporary confessional songs. Give me HONESTY! Dad-gum-it people, let’s be real with each other.