The Church of Low Expectations

I think it's very possible that some churches—perhaps many—ought to better develop the next thing their people need. I also think it's as important for contemporary worship as it is for the more high-church, liturgical variety to not lose sight of the real point of the church service. Critics who point these things out are valuable and timely.

But we should not forget that the sign of greater maturity in Jesus Christ is love. Immature Christians drink in love like children wallowing in approval, but there is no other way to have the capacity to give it. Studying hard things like affliction, sacrifice, and loss is inevitable. They will always come up. But if we want mature Christians and mature churches, the outcome we seek is something that is not inevitable, but must be consciously sought: a greater outpouring of love. And while love is a decision, and not a feeling we are supposed to passively wait to have, it is not something that can be conjured, through mere knowledge or ideas, out of unloved hearts.

"We love Him," says 1 John 4:19, "because He first loved us." God's love doesn't just set the standard, it creates the necessary environment. If we don't know it, we can't do anything. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says mighty things about love; but I admire another passage of his in Philippians 1:9-11:

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

If we desire knowledge and depth of insight, we should seek love. If we cultivate love, we cannot help growing up.

6/17/2012 4:00:00 AM