A couple of years ago, I got myself into trouble in my walk with God. I started getting really into Christian debates. I’m not against people defending the Christian faith, but listening to these arguments consumed me. I would listen to them every day. Before I knew it, I found myself using His Word to prove people wrong, rather than becoming love through relationship with Him.
The Lord brought about an abrupt end me listening to those arguments. I was driving one day, getting riled up about something that I heard a fellow believer say, when God jumped right in the middle of the conversation I was having with myself. He told me very clearly to “Stop criticizing and start participating”.
As believers in a world that is inundated with information and opinions, it has become so easy to shift our strategy to arguing and criticizing rather than simply allowing God to transform us into the image of Christ.
We blame our pastors when we don’t feel like we are growing spiritually. Openly criticize our government leaders for not running the country the way we think it should be run. Blame sinners for not repenting and turning to Jesus, when the truth of the matter is that we have not done a very good job in showing them what Jesus is actually like. When did we allow criticism to replace love as our strongest weapon?
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At the end of the day, our Christian walk is about fully surrendering to God and allowing His love to mold and shape us into the image of Jesus. We are to be walking, talking representations of the nature and the glory of God. First John 2: 6 states that, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” Jesus did not spend His time criticizing and tearing apart the government leaders of His day. The Pharisees tried to bait Him into this tactic, and He didn’t give an inch. His simple response was, “Give to Caesar what is Ceasar’s, and give to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). In other words, God is far more concerned about our heart and our surrender than He is about whether or not we are happy with the current political situation.
My heart breaks every time I’m on Facebook, and I see brothers and sisters in Christ stirring up so much anger, frustration and criticism over current political situations and leaders.
It does not represent our Father well when one second we are openly praising the Lord, and then in the very next breath we are criticizing elected officials. Officials who, according to God’s word, could not have authority if He did not give it to them (Romans 13:1). It does not represent our Father well when in one breath we praise Him, and in the next breath tear apart people. People who share a different opinion than us on a political topic.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3: 9-10)
The foundation of Jesus’ blueprint to effectively change the world is self-sacrifice and love, not self seeking and criticism.
His blueprint begins with repentance. It starts with laying down our own selfish motives and desires. Choosing to follow the Lord’s path no matter where it leads. Even if it leads to the cross. We need to find our way back there, church. I’ll start…
Lord, I repent, publicly in front of anyone who reads this. I am sorry for any time that I have chosen my way instead of Yours. Sorry for anytime that I have openly criticized one of Your children. I am sorry for any time that I have criticized an anointed teacher of Your word out of pride and conceit.
I am so sorry that I have turned to any of these things rather then simply surrendering and embracing the opportunities. The opportunities that You have put in front of me to love other people. I repent for giving way to fear and self-preservation. I ask You to remove any ounce of hatred within me, and replace it with your supernatural mercy and love. Empower me to live my life like Jesus.
Will you join me today and repent and turn back to the Lord? Will you choose to stop criticizing others and shift that focus? Shift that focus to participating in the journey He has placed in front of you?