What key ingredients make for a healthy life? What about a healthy church? I’ve read a lot of books on personal and corporate health! Individual health determines organizational health. As pragmatic Americans we think the church can be FIXED with capitalistic ideas! So, today’s church operates like corporate America. That doesn’t work. More importantly, it doesn’t honor the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. He isn’t a CEO that answers to a Board of Directors. He is the King of the Universe.
So, the best place to find our answer is the Bible. A cursory glance in Acts pictures a church in explosive growth. Fourteen activities of the early church are listed in Acts 2:41-47. If we are not careful, our “FIX” becomes replicating those activities. The truth is that many churches are duplicating those activities and they are dying! Not to mention the people who are “going through the motions” and dying on the inside.
The key to health is embedded in the passage. It is not the activities of the early church BUT the attitude. That is true for you as well. Specifically 3 attitudes are present: reverence, joy, and humility. If you want a healthy life, a healthy church, embrace these three attitudes. Let’s begin exploring them together.
First, reverence. Reverence is an awareness of God that heightens our sensitivity to our actions. Proverbs, the book of Wisdom, teaches us that reverence is the beginning of wisdom (9:10), it prolongs life (10:27), builds confidence (14:26), keeps us away from evil (16:6) and leads to life (19:23).
When your love for God will not keep you from sin, your reverence for God will! Noah built an ark with an attitude of reverence (Hebrews 11:7). Job’s reverence for God set him apart from the rest of humanity (Job 1:8). Reverence, or the fear of God, is a healthy antidote to
an apathetic attitude towards sin. Reverence isn’t modeled by a male who takes his baseball cap off when he enters the “sanctuary.” Reverence is specifically how you respond to those who DO enter the “sanctuary” with their cap on! Reverence isn’t about actions but attitudes! Reverence is seen in an attitude of forgiveness toward others so that an empty hand can be lifted in praise to God.
You see, when things bother you that don’t bother God, there is an absence of reverence. When things bother you BECAUSE they bother God, then reverence is present!!
OK, we’ll look at the other two in the days ahead. But we need to evaluate ourselves. How is your “reverence”? Are you more concerned about someone’s soul than their complying with external regulations? Instead of being angered by the sin of others, are you grieved? Do you respect God enough to know that He is actually present when no one else is around? Do you honor Him with your tongue because you honor Him with your heart? Do you honor His order, His sovereignty, His authority? Do you obey Him because you love Him AND you know that He will inspect what you do? Is His assessment of your your motives more important than what others see?
Live this day with an attitude of reverence toward the King!