When I divide my existence into two separate parts—“ministry” and “my life”—guess which one gets the short end of the stick? Guess which one has to get by on my leftover time, my leftover energy, my leftover finances, and my leftover passion? If I see ministry as something that I do when I step out of my life—that is, when the church has programmed and scheduled some form of ministry for me—then the vast majority of my life is mine for the using. But Scripture teaches the reverse of those priorities. It challenges me with the reality that nothing I am or have belongs to me. I do not have a life divided into God’s part and my part. It’s all “God’s part,” the whole thing. He purchased it at the cross, when he redeemed me from a life of hopelessness on earth and eternity in hell. My life does not belong to me in any way, shape, or form. God owns me and everything my life contains.
What are some ways that you fall in to the trap of creating a “spiritual” and a “real life” kind of dichotomy? What are ways that the church falls in to this trap? How can we champion for people to be set free?
Under the influence of Western Culture, Christianity tends to take on a uniquely individualistic cast, a “Jesus and me” kind of faith. We talk much about a “personal relationship with Jesus.” And it is certainly true that we are brought, by God’s grace, into personal communion with Christ. But Christianity is equally a faith that is meant to be anchored in community.
The greatest single problem in the church today is that too many people have taken a “personal relationship with Jesus”, made it private, and then called it good enough to the detriment of the body of Christ. It is sin at its most rampant manifestation, where God’s command to love neighbor is eschewed by an unquenchable love for self baptized under the guise of piety and spirituality.