We have exactly this same problem in our community. Typically, it is asylum seekers who show interest in the gospel and then, without warning or notice, up and leave, sometimes having lied to you throughout. Keeping your heart soft toward the next asylum seeker who walks through the door is incredibly hard. But it is vital.
RC Sproul doing what RC Sproul always did best.
‘At times, though, our motivation for gospel fruitfulness may stem from sinful ambition. How may we know the difference between ambition that is faithful and that which is sinful? Consider the end for which we are laboring. Are we working for God’s glory (Matthew 6:9) or our own (Matthew 23:1-12)? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Allow me to offer five self-examination questions to help us guard against the temptation to labor for a gospel fruitfulness that is rooted in selfish ambition.’
There was a lot of talk over Grace Community Church bringing a lawsuit over COVID-19 restrictions. Now, Capitol Hill Baptist Church have brought their own lawsuit. Some will say that they are following GCCs lead. But the circumstances, grounds and approach to the issue seem quite different altogether. Praying… through gritted teethI co-sign this one: ‘no, I didn’t think much of the PMs speech. And yet the word of God instructs me to pray for those in authority. More than that, it tells me to do this with thanksgiving (1 Tim. 2:1). It’s easy to pray for, and give thanks for, people in the abstract. It’s also easy to do it for those with whom we are in agreement and who we like. It is much harder when it is not abstract, and when we don’t like what the authorities are doing. But the command doesn’t change!’
On a similar theme, but from a UK context, John Stevens offers this: ‘It seems to me that what’s crucial is that the Bible doesn’t allow us to disobey simply because we dislike a law and find it inconvenient, and the Bible doesn’t allow us to disobey just because we distrust the Government. So distrust is not a reason for disobedience. It seems to me that we’re not entitled to disobey simply because we disagree with a policy choice and a law that’s been made to implement it, and at the moment there are lots of different opinions about what’s to be done about COVID, and it’s hard to know which of those opinions is right. But I’m not sure we have the right to disobey just because we disagree with a policy.’
We so often think the route to holiness is to try harder. If we just put in more effort, we would be more holy. But I am convinced – as this article alludes – that the answer lies more in remembering who we are already.
From the archive: Have we adopted the spiritual equivalent of Jamie Oliver’s food-drive in our churches?
‘I have scarcely had a pastoral meeting in someone’s home that didn’t involve the TV remaining on for the duration. Often, pastoral meetings don’t even happen in homes – people would rather meet on neutral ground. There is nothing essentially wrong with either of those things and yet, those inclined to sneer, chalk these things up to an unwillingness to engage or a lack of hospitality or something like this. But these are little more than middle class cultural hang-ups rather than biblical ones.’