You wouldn’t hurt a puppy. You wouldn’t push your loving grandma down the stairs. Why? Because amongst other reasons, they just don’t deserve it.
But is it possible that there is someone else that we continually hurt who is even less deserving? We know that He didn’t deserve what we gave Him. Maybe we don’t think we have serious offenses. Maybe our daily offenses against Christ go unnoticed? Maybe they are rationalized away. Maybe the longer we think our sins are minor, the easier it is for us to keep them.
Or do we get off task and get so excited about changing the world, that we don’t realize that we are the ones in need of change? Maybe we believe that the sin of those around us is always greater than the sin that resides within. Should we consider having as much enthusiasm toward changing ourselves as we do about changing others?
Our sins were so great that Christ’s suffering and the death on the cross was the only means whereby we can be saved. But perhaps we don’t see any room (or need) for improvement. We may like to be radical when it comes to changing others, but how much harder is it to initiate a radical change within ourselves?
Has gospel living been reduced to comfortable components? Do we attend meetings for the social aspect and the fellowship, and when the social aspect fades, or our friends move away, does our membership and our motivation to participate, dwindle?
We may even be intolerant, proud, critical and zealous of our rules. Yet when we offend a greater source through our own behavior, thoughts or motives, is it not substantial? Do we strictly keep rules, church attendance and participation, while our spirit goes untouched and unaltered? Is our idea of right that guides us, or is it Christ?
Perhaps we are fine with where we are. Maybe we’ve been called a biblical expert. Perhaps we know everything there is to know about the doctrine. We may have read many books and know doctrinal history incredibly well, but have our hearts really been changed?
Are we critical toward anyone who lacks the depth of understanding that we have? Could it possibly be that our hearts are driven to master the Word of God, instead of having the Word of God master us? We may know the principles to detailed precision, yet are our hearts remaining unadjusted?
To us, has the faith been reduced to its comfortable components? The components that were meant to guide us, have they become the ends instead of the means? The knowledge we sought, the rules we rigorously followed and the fellowship that pushed us toward Him, can we now ask ourselves, “are our hearts yet touched?”
The scriptures repeatedly tell us that God wants our hearts. Not our heads, our body, our knowledge, our social life, or our self-righteousness. He wants us. Our will. The very thing that perhaps we are most reluctant to give.
Behavior modification, fellowship and doctrinal knowledge only gets us so far. When our social support, our doctrinal knowledge, our church attendance and all its accoutrements are boiled down, have our hearts truly changed?