Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Mark God Leaves on His People

In his book, The Life You've Always Wanted, John Ortberg tells about a guy named Bill in a church he pastored years ago. Bill was one of the pillars of the church. He was always present in Bible study and worship, tithed faithfully, knew his Bible, didn't cuss, get drunk, or cheat on his wife. But he was cranky. And not endearingly cranky, either. Bill's son had a great story about how he had met his wife at a dance, but he couldn't tell his dad because Bill would've just been angry to hear that his son had been to a dance. He complained constantly. Once he called OSHA to report that the music in worship was so loud, it was a safety hazard. A befuddled OSHA employee came to investigate, then quickly left when he found out there was nothing to it. Everyone avoided Bill, because it was so easy to get on his bad side, and life was so miserable when that happened. Yet the astonishing thing about Bill wasn't that he was cranky; it's that no one expected him to change.

Ortberg points out that if all we have is religion--just rules and rituals--then no one should expect us to change. But if God really is present and active in our lives, like Scripture claims, then we should be constantly growing. And how, pray tell, will we be able to measure that growth? Not simply with church attendance, Bible knowledge, and avoidance of certain vices. Bill had those in spades. No, the real mark that God leaves on His people is found in one of the foundational passages in all of Scripture: Galatians 5:16-25. Over the coming weeks, we'll be studying "The Fruits of the Spirit" to test and challenge ourselves to a better, more God-centered and God-honoring lifestyle. We begin this Sunday with the most important fruit of all, in a message entitled True Love. What does it mean to truly love? It's a lot more than what the songs say...

1 comment:

Pedro Garcia Millan said...
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