A few weeks ago, our car went in for a full service and to have the bumpers re-sprayed. The car was running reasonably well, and although I’d noticed a few minor issues I didn’t think much of them. Until I got that phone call. Perhaps you’ve had one like it. “Mr Brown. If funds are tight, can I suggest that you don’t get your bumpers re-sprayed right now. There are some other major and expensive issues that need immediate work!”
Oh dear! It all came as a bit of a shock! But my assessment of things wasn’t accurate. And when an expert took a good look underneath the bodywork, he saw things that were faulty and dangerous. Things I was totally unaware of.
When was the last time you had a full spiritual service? A real, detailed look at how your Christian life is running? For most of us, I suspect that will have been a long time ago. It’s understandable. Life is busy and we get comfortable being part of the church, having a regular (or not so regular!) time of reading the Bible and prayer at home, perhaps being part of a home group as well, and we don’t look much further than that. After all, things seem to be ticking along quite nicely.
But as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, and as we’ll see again this morning, the pattern Jesus sets for his disciples isn’t ‘ticking over quite nicely.’ He calls us to a life of radical holiness, love, service, giving and prayer. He calls us to live for him first of all, putting no one or nothing in his place. The effect of a life like this will be an increasing likeness to Jesus, a growing joy and confidence in the gospel, fruitfulness when we witness to others about our faith and boldness to speak. When we gather as God’s people together on Sundays or in our small groups, visitors should see and feel the love and care we have for one another and for God as we gather in worship and prayer and serve each other graciously. How many of us can honestly say that is our current experience?
Our churches have many strengths, and God is at work amongst us, but I suspect we are settling for ‘ticking over quite nicely’ when actually we are not functioning as we should. Like my car, I suspect there are serious issues which need resolving. Perhaps it’s time we asked God to give us a spiritual MOT and let him get to work.