Matthew 15:8-9 (ESV)- “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
The Christian Church is in great need for a Reformation of the Heart.
Its been tried at other times in our history…for instance, the seal of Lutheranism is a red heart with a black cross in the center, representing Christ coming into the heart of the believer and absorbing all our sin. But like with most denominations, Lutherans fell into the extreme sectarianism and the vicious war for precise theological words that satisfy individual minds at the expense of tearing the fabric of the Church.
John Wesley brought with him the “Method” of devotion that had stirred not only his heart, but also the heart of his brother Charles. Interestingly, although Charles also had a superb theological mind that did not always agree with his brother John, they worked together in leading the masses of cold-hearted, secularized Anglicans to fan the flame of devotion to God by the power of the Holy Spirit. But instead of staying as an inter-denominational movement, John Wesley ordained Bishops before his death- an action that produced a “Church” which in turn divided into manifold, sectarian groups.
The Pentecostals stirred the world like no other Christian group before them since the Church of the Apostles. The flame of devotion spread like a powerful flame- leading millions of people into a “personal relationship” with God and the continual search for the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. But lack of discipleship, rogue ministers and corruption divided the Church even further. There are currently more “Pentecostal” or “Charismatic” denominations than in any other branch of Christianity.
Recently, ISIS destroyed a 1,400 year-old monastery in Iraq. There was no public outrage by Christians, since many consider traditional Christians to be idolaters for using iconography of Jesus and the Saints in their devotional lives.
Pastor Saeed Abedini was recently released from Iran and was received by Rev. Franklin Graham. Where are the celebrations for his return? Why aren’t the Mega-Church Pastors and Denominational Leaders leading processional celebrations in their cities and towns as a testament to persistence in prayer? The reality is (and I have the emails to prove it) that most Christian leaders really didn’t care about the plight of Pastor Saeed…and neither did most Christians sitting in the pews of their congregations.
Remember the fuss about the “Christian” professor of Illinois Christian College who wore a hijab in defense of Muslims, surrounded by the rainbow coalition? Remember how there was talk about firing her for violating the College’s statement of Faith? As it turns out, the faculty voted to not dismiss her because she is a tenured professor.
The Christian Church needs a Reformation…
Not a Reformation of words, but a Reformation of the Heart. We need a Devotional Reformation that will make us God-Conscious rather than Me-Conscious. We need to begin focusing on God so that in His presence we might begin to fall in love with Him.
A soul that loves God cannot but want to please God.
When we finally die to ourselves and live for God, then we will begin to love one another, simply because THAT is what Christ desires from His people.
But as long as we seek to pursue our personal agendas, rather than living in the humility of discipleship…our Baptisms will mean nothing, and in the end, no amount of “Lord! Lord!” will get us into the Kingdom.
We need a Reformation.
We need a Reformation of the Heart.
We need a Devotional Reformation.