I read the C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters, a few years ago. If you have not read the book, it is the story of a demon, a fallen angel, or however you would like to refer to a servant of Satan. It is the job of these demons to turn humans away from God. In the story, an older and wiser servant of Satan was teaching his nephew on the ways to turn humans from God. The uncle tells his nephew that completely turning a human to the dark side is not ideal. The most ideal place for a human to be is when they think they are still good, moral, and Christian, however, their intentions are flawed and their lives focus on so many other things besides God.
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
They (the demons) want us to be on the path to hell without even realizing it because if we realize, we will do something about it. I think this is similar to what it looks like to be a lukewarm Christian.
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
– Revelation 3:15-16
Lukewarm Christians believe in God, but their lives do not show it. They may not be doing anything “wrong” but they are not being servants of God. This is the worst place to be in because it is difficult to recognize that there is a problem.
This post is inspired by the sermon I heard yesterday morning.
“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.”
– Colossians 1:29 & 2:1
In these verses, Paul is saying that the work God is having him do is hard. Service and ministry is hard. Our pastor continued to share about how he feels the pressure and difficulty of sharing the gospel. Every Sunday after church the pastor goes home and questions whether he said the right thing during the sermon. He never feels like he shared the Lord’s message as well and completely as it should have been. He struggled with this for a long time, thinking that someday he will become good enough at this job that it will no longer be a struggle. When this time never came he realized something entirely different… we will always be insufficient. We will never be able to serve enough, or tell the gospel perfectly how it should be, and we will never be able to understand all things.
“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?”
– 2 Corinthians 11:28-29
In Corinthians, Paul feels suffering because he wants to help everyone, but he can’t. We will never be able to help everyone. It is this feeling of being insufficient that Christians must take with them always.
I was always told again and again in some form, “In God’s eyes, you are enough.” I never really questioned it up until recently, but I started to realize I am not enough. I don’t have the capabilities that I would like to serve God and others. Therefore, I was so relieved to hear the pastor say that he feels insufficient, and that we will always be insufficient. It is this terrible feeling that we must bear.
That being said, our suffering is necessary. Our suffering is needed in order to show how Jesus suffered, and it is through our suffering that others can truly understand the Gospel.
Last week, I was reading the book, Celebration of Discipline, by Richard J. Foster. This book talks about spiritual disciplines and how to implement them into your life. While reading the chapter on worship, this caught me off guard:
“Service flows out of worship. Service as a substitute for worship is idolatry.”
Could a thing as good and Godly as service become idolatry?
When discussing with others, I discovered that most people responded to this statement with: Service can become idolatry if it is done out of reasons other than for God. An example of this would be serving because it make you feel better about yourself. That is one way to view this statement by Foster, and it makes total sense. However, I thought of it differently.
My service is for God. I feel that God has called me to serve, but have I been focusing on service so much that I have missed other ways in which God has called me to live?
I have been putting a lot of my focus on service for the past few years of my life. Through participating in several missions trips, service has become a huge part of my faith. Had I made service a bigger part of my faith then I should? And how do I know?
I think after reading and discussing this topic, I will be intentional about exploring other areas of my faith.
Please let me know your thoughts on this statement by Foster and how it would apply to your life! Also, if service has become a form of idolatry, how do we address it?
This past weekend I was able to take some time away from school and volunteer! I went with a group of friends into the city and teamed up to do a mobile mission. We loaded up a van with clothes, toiletry supplies, and food, then drove to different spots around the city where the homeless typically congregate.
As this was not my first experience with the homeless population, nothing came as a real shock to me. However, each time I am always reminded of my appreciation for these people. I or someone I know could easily be in the same situation… being stuck homeless on the streets. We are so quick to judge these people when it could so easily be any one of us.
I met two young men, probably college age, who were so grateful to receive any sort of help we could give them. I don’t know why these boys were on the streets, but it really hits home when they are so young and going through this on their own.
I also got to meet one college-aged girl. We were serving hot coffee, and she brought along an empty gallon jug and filled the whole thing up with coffee. She then asked if we had any pads or tampons… she took the whole box of tampons. Could this girl be any more relatable? Like girl, I feel you.
A lot of the time this is not what homelessness is thought to be, but this is the reality. People just like you and me were caught in a bad situation now their lives are flipped upside down.
I have heard again and again… don’t have a hero mentality.
But I can’t help it!
To give some context, when preparing to go on a service trip the leader always reminds us not to have a hero mentality. Meaning, don’t start serving thinking that what you do is going to have this HUGE impact and everything will be better once you leave.
Typically when serving, you are partnering with an organization who has been serving a community for a long time. When you come in for a week to serve, that is just one week of the years the organization has been there. If a whole organization has not solved all the problems by now, do you really think you can?
Therefore, it important to remember that when we serve, we are only one tiny piece of the puzzle. Of course our service has an impact, but we must remain a humble servant.
Which brings us to the spiritual side of things… remember that is all God working through us. It is through God that these communities step out of poverty or the man on the side of the road is given a bed for the night.
Only God has the power to save the world. Although it can be hard to take a step back and humble ourselves. It is good remind ourselves, THROUGH CHIST we can do all things.
I believe that the earth is God’s creation and we are to respect and care for it. This planet, the whole universe for that matter, is a beautiful masterpiece created by our God in Heaven.
Although the Bible declares time and time again that the world will one day be in ruin, we should not be speeding up the process. The world will be in ruin because we are sinners. We as humans take and take until there is nothing left. I don’t think it is God intention for us to live this way.
Before making a change, it is first helpful for you to know what effect you are having on the planet. I recommend taking the carbon footprint test on https://www.footprintnetwork.org/
I have been trying to live a very eco-friendly life recently, but yet if everyone was living like me, it would require us to have 1.4 earths! That’s crazy!
I encourage everyone to take the test, and find out ways that you could personally help our planet! And remember that this is God’s creation we are destroying. Just imagine how beautiful the earth must have been back when God said, “it is good.”
This summer, I went on vacation with my boyfriend’s family to San Francisco, CA! It was such a good week exploring the pier, seeing the painted ladies, and eating yummy food. However, I have one regret…
Starting on our very first day, we were walking to our tour, and all along the streets were homeless people. My heart immediately went out to them, and I looked up at everyone around me to see if any of them had stopped to help. I saw that no one even acknowledged the homeless people. I had to tell myself,
“Oh yeah, you aren’t on a mission’s trip, things are different.“
I tried to figure out if I had anyway to help these people, but I didn’t have any money or food to give them, and I didn’t have the time to stop and talk to them either.
I realize now that I was not prepared mentally or physically for this. Vacation had just begun, and I was ready to have a good time. To be honest, my thoughts were selfish… helping others was no where on mind. But so what if I’m on vacation, I’m not going to pretend that there is not poverty all around me. From now on, I want to always have a “mission’s mindset.” At anytime or anywhere, I want to be ready to help. Whether that means keeping my schedule flexible or packing extra granola bars with me, I don’t ever want to put my own desires over the needs of others.
“Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”