Rain and wind lack any will of their own. They have no agenda or goals, and yet their destruction seems almost orchestrated. Water from a light shower runs slowly down the roof, wearing away the surface until it breaks through. Breezes gently blow, applying slight pressure then releasing, weakening the bond that holds the shingle in position. At some point, as if there was a meeting to plan an attack, the skies get dark, the winds pick up, and rain begins to fall. Weak points and worn-through sections are the first to fall to this offensive, but that isn’t the end. The wind opens a point of entry followed by the rain, and before you know it, they have compromised the protective layer and begun destroying everything it once guarded.
What does keeping the outside, outside, look like in the life of a Christ follower? There was at one time a very thick line between us and them. I don’t even like using the term us and them because it suggests that the “us” (Christ followers) are somehow better than the “them” (those who haven’t made the choice to follow Christ). Us and them are really the same when it comes to measuring who is better. All of us and all of them have sinned and all of us and all of them have fallen short of the mark.
Now for a language lesson. With the invention of texting, English, the most difficult language in the world to learn, has been simplified. Words have been shortened to sound-a-like letters. Phrases have been replaced by acronyms or initialisms. Capital letters and punctuation are things of the past while correct spelling and grammar result more from luck than a concerted effort to follow the rules of the language. For us old people, this new English is just as difficult to grasp as the new math.
If something affects the individual Christ follower, it almost always affects the collective of Christ followers. The blur of needs, wants, and extras have made it difficult for churches to encourage maturing. With the world’s way of operating just outside the entryway, and Satan selling his snake oil fixes, the church has become more focused on talents and hard work than on God and His call. We do what we know and we work at it the hardest, trying to make God happy. We may not realize it, but the world has seen the church this way for a long time. Those outside the entryway think the church is a bunch of people trying their hardest to do stuff that no one truly understands to make an angry God happy.
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17 (NIV)
A Little Understanding – The Entryway isn’t Enough
Childlike faith is the key to the entire floor plan, starting with the entryway but going far beyond. We must believe that there is more, laying out our lives in such a way that we can discover it. Childish faith is just happy where it is, in the entryway. When the entryway dweller does become a little restless, their options are limited by their one-room floor plan. They can look all over the space they have and discover there is no more to discover! The only way to improve the entryway is to give it a facelift. Make things look better. Continuing with the entryway metaphor, adding a coat of paint, a new closet organizer, updated tiles, a table for cell phones and keys, and new door mats should do it. It may be the same room, but it looks so much better!
I hate choices. Okay, that isn’t totally correct. I hate choices that have an upside and a downside; I find it hard to make up my mind. I’ve been told it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, so why does a guy like me have so much trouble making up his mind? My theory is this “woman’s prerogative” observation was made by a man watching his wife shopping for clothes or shoes or both. The fact he was willing to say it out loud leads me to believe that he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the drawer. He was probably the same man who when asked by his wife during the shopping trip, “Do these pants make me look fat?” answered, “I don’t think it has anything to do with the pants.” Not being a medical doctor or psychologist does not exclude me from stating with 99.5% certainty: men can be indecisive (and fat) too.