Hindrance to Faith
June/Training for Mission
17 June 2010
The wrathful zeal of fire will consume the enemy, who do not wish to believe that Christ came from God the Father.
- Columcille, Altus Prosator (Irish, 6th century)
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
- John 17.20, 21
Three of the defining features of the Christianity that flourished during the Celtic revival (ca. 430-790 AD) are their powerful commitment to the spiritual life, their devotion to mission, and their strong communal bond. They understood the value of working hard, all day long, at their relationship with Christ - to see Him in His glory, commune with Him in prayer, and sink their roots in Him through His Word. They risked their lives over and over to reach pagan peoples with the Gospel. And they built and maintained strong communities of co-laborers and friends in service to others.
So what do you think? Were Columcille's words in this stanza just an accident? Or did he deliberately choose that phrasing - "Christ came from God the Father" - to pull those three facets of Celtic Christianity into a focus for his disciples? That phrase captures the importance of union with Christ and God, of unity in the community of the brethren, and of mission to the lost world in a brilliant and memorable way. Those preparing for mission would have gotten the point and understood that Columcille was underscoring all three of these aspects of the life of faith as crucial to their success.
It's no wonder we're so poor at evangelism and at winning people to Christ these days. Most Christians have a fairly superficial relationship with the Lord; I watch their eyes glaze over in complete unknowing as I talk to them about engaging God in His glory as our highest calling in life. Most churches have nothing to do with any other churches in their community, thus offering a hindrance to the credibility of the Gospel. And most believers haven't talked about their faith with anybody outside the church in years - for whatever reason. We have very little burden for mission.
What is the greatest hindrance to evangelism and belief? We are. We are, friends; and until we face up and 'fess up on this, nothing's going to change and the lost will just continue on their merry way to the consuming fire of the Lord.
Today in ReVision: Oiling Along - How'd the President do in his speech the other night? Well...
This Week's Download: Faithfulness in Ministry - Download a free copy for your pastor. If he won't take it, take it for him.
Tonight we pray for revival. Write me if you like to join us, and I'll send you the call-in information and prayer sheet.