Thursday, May 14, 2009
Eternal Judgment and Church Phobia
How's that for a title? Those topics, among others, have been the thoughts I have been pondering the past couple of days while working on crossing off umpteen projects on the list. Reading through Hebrews has caused most of them, along with the amazing realization that the Holy Spirit is working and prompting in my life.
Hebrews 9:27-28 says Just as man is destined to die once, and after that face eternal judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people... After death, which is inevitable, we will face God. Because of what Christ did on the cross I do not fear eternal punishment, but the thought of eternal judgment is weighing heavy on me. If I were to stand before God today would I feel ashamed that I did not do more, learn more, strive more, reach out more, know Him more, fight to advance His kingdom more? My first thought was "Well God is sovereign, if He wanted me doing more He would do it." Bah! What an excuse! Yes, God is sovereign, but that is no excuse for my apathy, fear and undisciplined laziness. It has caused me to again look at this life with an eternal view. Hebrews hints about what the rest of the Bible hints about as well; this life is not all that there is, this life will end, and God wasn't kidding.
Which brings me to the issue of Church Phobia. Over the past couple of years I have suffered from Church Phobia. Going from an emotional issue, even to a physical one. It starts on Monday night, progresses throughout the week, gets really bad on Saturday and Sunday, then starts all over again. I love God, but not so much the institution of the church. But, as other places in Scripture also point out, Hebrews talks about joining together with believers. Hebrew 8:5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. Although the writer of Hebrews is talking about the Priests of old, the verse made me ponder the other verses in scripture related to churches. Obviously there is a form of a sanctuary in heaven that God's people will be attending. If we are striving to be Christ like, and even Christ was taught at the sanctuaries, and we will be attending a sanctuary for eternity in heaven, then I conclude that we should be here as well. I wonder if all those mad church people will sit by me in heaven?But I struggle with my experience on church. I do not want to go back to supporting the institution, the cliques and clubs, the rules and regulations of each denomination. I do not want to be somebodies project or attain the goals they have for me. The apathy I see in most churches frustrate me. The shallowness of God's word that is taught, the low expectations on obedience, the commitment to the group rather than all of God's people frustrates me. How I long, and pray for, God to show me where He wants me in all of this. My heart is for children, and I long to bring a hunger and depth for God to these tender souls. But first I have to get up the gumption to enter the institutional life again.