But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:18-19
We are quick to identify The problem that is facing the Christian Church. Pastors and church leaders are prone to bemoan the state of affairs in the world today and point to a singular problem. But what The problem is depends upon to whom you are listening. We have heard everything identified from Hollywood and Washington D.C., from secular humanism to Darwinian evolution; from social media to the broad label of “the culture.” But let me simplify things for all of us. The problem that exists in the world today is you. Not movies and television, not Sunday morning sporting events or the internet. As the prophet Nathan poignantly confronts King David, the Law refuses to cast the finger of blame anywhere but upon you. It is out of your heart that comes all manner of sin. You are the problem!
In recognizing your inability to shift the blame elsewhere, the only path forward for you is that of repentance. Confronted with the mess that we have made of our own lives and the world that God created, we come in repentance for our sinful hearts, our sinful thoughts, our sinful words, our sinful deeds, our sinful shifting of blame, our sinful holier-than-thou behavior, our sin. In 1908, an English Newspaper posed a question to its readers, “What’s wrong with the world today?” To which the great Christian writer, G.K. Chesterton responded succinctly, “I am.”
That is why what you need more than anything else is Christ and His Word. It is only through Christ and His Means of Grace that God creates within you clean and new hearts. It is only through the Word that God brings forth the fruits of the Spirit and enables us to walk in newness of life. It is only through the Spirit at work in the Word that God transforms us from being the problem to part of His answer. For God’s answer to the world’s plight was to send Jesus Christ. God’s ongoing answer to a world that is plunged in the darkness of sin and idolatry is Christ’s Body, the Church. The way that God changes the world today is through repentance and faith, through the Holy Spirit working through the Word and Christ’s Church being His new creation. It all begins in repentance and in the Word of God. May God truly transform us to be not the problem, but part of God’s answer to the world.
Prayer – Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan