I read through 1 John this morning. Every time I read through this little book, I wonder if I am a Christian at all! I am not sure if this is good or bad. I got stuck and reread this a couple of times:
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:5-7 ESV)These are strong words. But this little exercise in reflecting and meditating caused me to pause about the way I am living (mostly materially) and caused me to reflect on the condition of the western church. I have two concerns for us western Christians. I will address one today, cultural accommodation. We have been so influenced by our culture that our lives are all too similar to the world around us. I mentioned this to a family member this past weekend and their response was that how can we not be. I understand their response but Paul give us the antidote in Romans:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:1-2 ESV)There are a number of reasons why we are not transformed but I think one reason is that pastors are so accommodating to our culture that we are more saturated with it than with God. The result is that our preaching is not challenging and transforming! My family member made the comment that after reading a chapter in Crazy Love by Francis Chan her whole small group questioned whether they were genuine Christians or not! I said I thought that was good and that God raises up those kind of prophetic voices to challenge us in the way we live. If you have not read Crazy Love or Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper, I would recommend both for that purpose!
I pray that we all are challenged by such prophetic voices and God raise up more!