The American Church Has Left It’s First Love
The American church is facing a crisis. This may not be a crisis that is exclusively American but since I am in America and it is where my observations come from, I can only say that this definitely affects us. The crisis is this. We are faced with whether or not we are going to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus or are we going to follow the direction our nation is heading. Are we going to return to our first love, or are we going to let the influence and mindset of those who do not follow Jesus dictate what we are going to do and how we are going to live.
This is not the first time in history that Christians have been faced with this choice. However it is the first time that American Christians have been put to the test in such a large scale. Over the course of the last 50 years we have seen the rise of Christian persecution in this nation, the rise of government intrusion into religious freedoms and liberties, and the rise of downright hatred towards Christians and the morals that Christians stand for.
During this time the Church has tried such methods as becoming more “seeker sensitive”, “more relevant” and “less confrontational” with the net effect of converting less people, making fewer disciples, and becoming more programmatic and less relational in it’s services. We became the shopping malls of religious society with mega-churches offering everything people said they were looking for without giving people what they really needed. And now we are reaping what we have sown which is a society that looks at Christianity as some sort of political bloc or religious superstore that needs to follow the dictates of society rather than being the institution and people that mold and shape the thought of society itself. How did we get to this point?
Christianity Became Marginalized When Christians Left Their First Love.
Falling out of love doesn’t happen overnight and neither does leaving your first love with Jesus. Love is not just an emotion but is in part an act of the will. It is a gentle slippery slope that you go down and before you know it your emotions have followed the direction of your will. In human relationships it starts with losing your focus or getting your focus onto something or someone else. We start focusing on career’s or what other people have or what other people say and stop focusing on the person we are in love with. When we do that then we become self focused and self centered and the flame of love grows cold.
The same is true with our relationship with Jesus. When we start out our focus is totally on Him. However over time we start to allow other things to come into sight. We see others with more things, or we allow our efforts to advance our career or monetary status to dictate what is best for us. We allow what other people say to effect what we do and if we even acknowledge that we are believers. The perceived or real negative consequences of being in love with Jesus determines whether or not we will take a stand or make decisions based upon that love. As a result, when we allow this to happen in our spiritual life and our love relationship with Jesus, our love for Him grows cold.
As a result of allowing our love for Him to grow cold, people no longer look to us as role models. They no longer look to us as examples to follow. They no longer look to us as leaders that are worthy of being listened to. Instead they see nothing that is worth changing their lives for. They only see us as people that are religious. They see us as something that is obsolete, irrelevant, and marginal. You see, if people are going to look upon Christianity as something to be valued, then they need to see the value in the lives of everyday people and if everyday people who call themselves Christians continue to show to the world that they themselves do not value their Christian life and lifestyle anymore than they do, well then why should they value it?
The blame for the marginalization of Christianity falls directly upon Christians and the men and women who lead them. Let me give you a couple of examples out of many that are available.
Read 2 examples of where the church has left its first love on page 2
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