My life has endured a lot of changes lately, in several areas. But I want to focus on the spiritual side today.
I used to go to church and just agree with everything said, and defend it against anyone who thought differently. Yes, I was one of them. But then I started asking some questions, and when I met one of them, I found that I didn't care for that kind of response. I wanted honestly and truth, not pat answers and conformity. That attitude got me into trouble with the powers that be.
I saw this statement in another blog (here) and it has stuck with me since.
The Pharisees’ entire religious system was built on what man esteems. Everything they did was done to receive glory, honor and praise from man. They got it, even the disciples thought the Pharisees were top rung guys.
Most churches that I see represent this in one way or another. When I walk into a service, I feel I can quickly discern what the main focus of a congregation is all about. Maybe it is all about the preacher, a building project, pride in their friendliness or some other aspect of their personality, maybe it is about their giving to missions or the community, the list goes on. But what I want to find is a church that is flat out in love with God. Not the god who rubber stamps their dreams and wishes, but the God of the universe who loves us and saves us, and sometimes in ways that we do not understand.
When I look at this quote, one thing that strikes me is "even the disciples thought the Pharisees were top rung guys." Is this an issue today? (Rhetorical question, of course it is.) I noticed on the website of one of the churches I attended a sermon titled, "Detour Around Legalism." While I do not know the content of the message (and don't care to), my previous experience with this congregation tells me that it was either a pat on the back of themselves or a blind foray into the depths of a topic that they really need to dig deeper into.
Even the disciples thought the Pharisees were the "it" guys. That is so scary. Like Tim Keller and many others, I believe that Jesus came to destroy this kind of thinking. Note that it is the thinking that Jesus wanted to destroy, and not the Pharisees. Somehow, I have to figure out how to do that if I want to be like Him. Not an easy job.