Christian hypocrisy is alive and well in the Bible Belt.
Matthew 13:15 ‘For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
Not exactly ‘Gentle Jesus, meek and mild’ stuff, is it? I wager that if Jesus was to step into a mainstream church pulpit today and preach what was on His heart, the congregation would be squirming in the pews and vow never to return again. To call religious and spiritual people callous is a bit disconcerting and yet that is precisely the kind of Christians we are raising in the Western Church today.
Okay, so you were looking for a word of encouragement or an affirmation of God’s blessing in this devotional, but the pastor is now meddling with the spiritual comfort zone most people have created for themselves. I’ve heard people talk the talk for years and they live deluded Christian lives. I’ve seen countless people busy themselves with other things, but as far as Sunday worship, Bible study, or prayer are concerned, you would think you were asking them to move a mountain!
Oh they are full of good intentions, but we all know that the pathway to Hell is paved with good intentions. I just wish that Jesus was around in the flesh and that those who constantly make excuses could meet Him face to face. Then I wouldn’t get shot down as being the messenger of His words. Jesus could take the flak for Himself.
So the challenge for us all is this: what are we going to do about our calloused hearts and self-centered excuses in the Western Church? When are we going to start living as Christians instead of wannabe followers of the Faith?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are not always meek and mild; in fact in the Gospels You are very confrontational and fiercely straight-forward. Somehow we have mixed up our ideal image of You and have begun idolizing ourselves in the process. Revive our faith! Reclaim our souls! Restore us to God! Get rid of our good intentions and replace them with real commitment. In Your Holy Name, we fervently pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s devotional, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.