I enjoy Wednesday night Bible study. Discussions are generally more animated and thoughtful, and comments are more honest and frank (I hope that’s not a reflection on Sunday morning Bible class, which I teach). It is spiritual renewal in the middle of the week, like having your battery recharged to carry you through until Sunday. Rarely do I ever come away without my thought processes having been stimulated.
Our current study is the Sermon on the Mount, one of my favorite sections of Scripture. Tonight focused on Christ’s teaching about lust, and God’s expectations about how we are to deal with it. The discussion touched on the influence of pornography, current sexual beliefs and practices, and how to deal with the temptation of lust. What can we do to fight one of the most powerful urges that human beings experience?
Accountability to one another is a defense against falling to temptation in our areas of weakness. However, this is a problem for most of us, because it requires being honest and open, showing a willingness to let another see our wounds. We spoke of “aisle runners”, individuals who respond to the Sunday invitation on an almost weekly basis asking for prayers, and the unspoken scorn or embarrassment many of us feel. It makes us uncomfortable when someone is willing to lay themselves open before us. We ask each other, “how are you doing?” without really wanting to know, for fear our own struggles might come to light.
The church, as well as individual Christians, need to consider our attitude. The church is not a place of “perfect” or even “okay” people, bright shiny folks who have no visible imperfections. It is supposed to be a hospital where those who realize they are broken, wounded, sick and impoverished come seeking to be healed and made whole. Jesus can’t heal those who consider themselves “okay” because they’re so full of themselves there’s no room for HIM. He seeks broken people because He can take their empty life and fill it with His Spirit in order to heal the wounds and let His glory shine.
I don’t want to be a “perfect” Christian- I can’t be because I know what I really am. I have struggled with pornography and lust, and have often made a mess of my life. Growing up ‘in the church’ just made things worse because I understood how far away I was from being what I wanted and needed to be.I was finally driven to my knees because my foolish pride brought me to a place where I had no other option. It wasn’t until I was completely broken that God could begin to build a vessel that might prove to be useful in His hands. It was only when I discovered how empty I really was that God could begin to fill me with His spirit and power.
I found the statement above some time ago and immediately fell in love with the truth of it. Being real isn’t complicated but is difficult because it requires humility and a total surrender of myself. God makes us real when we’re not afraid to acknowledge our warts, wounds, and scars and give them to Him. If my scars can lead a wounded soul to the One who gives healing, if sharing my failures and broken places gives courage to another to do the same, then may God make good use of my imperfections. As Paul said, “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Church, let’s be real with each other. Have the courage to acknowledge our failures and struggles and encourage one another. Help each other look to Jesus for healing and cleansing, and truly share one another’s burdens. We are all imperfect people being made perfect by the grace of God through the cleansing blood of our Savior Jesus. Pretending to be anything else dulls our ability to reflect the glory and power of Christ.