Gareth Davies on the need for dependence on God and not our own strength.
Jesus said "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it." (Matthew 11:28)
When I was employed in the life assurance industry, I visited banks and financial institutions trying to convince them that my company was the best and the one they should be using. To be honest most insurance companies offer very similar products just at varying costs.
I have an inner sense that this is what the contemporary Church does. We offer a 'spiritual product' amidst lots of other spiritualties. They all sound similar, offer similar benefits (peace, well-being, purpose, truth, hope, direction for life etc.). Most people are confused simply because they often can't see the difference, or sense the need, for anything to commit to.
Church today is desperate for people to 'come back'. I fear we are being asked to sell Jesus in a package and be successful at it. But is it failing?
I sense it's a spiritual failure because we are using methods and strategies from the secular business world that can't bring about the supernatural Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom is centred around relationship and intimacy with God, which is a heart matter, not a business model!
I found Christ many years ago, not via any Church programme, but out
of an inner need and desperation to find Him in the confusion and
heartaches of life. In that desperation I didn't find Him, He found
Over time I have learnt something about brokenness. It's not a popular notion today, because it illustrates a person's utter need, dependency and longing for the Lord. Some Church groups lose this and emphasise such things as victory, self-improvement, and prosperity, but in my view it's a false message.
God comes to the needy and the broken not to the self-sufficient and rich in soul. Through brokenness we discover His victory, His healing, and His provision in order that we give Him glory.
We cannot market, package, plan, or convince people of their need to turn to Jesus. All those things are human methods, good no doubt in business, but to no effect in the Kingdom of God.
The answer lies for me in the spiritual principle of brokenness:
1. Our utter dependency on God.
2. It's not the cleverness of what we do/say, but breaking before God for people. How many tears did Jesus weep?
3. It's the power of intimacy, and flowing from that the power of His love.
4. Only the hungry will find God, and for no reason other than to know Him. In Him we will have all the riches we need.
5. His presence to heal, bless and save is amongst those who love Him and each other.
There's a real cost to brokenness as it involves a dying to self. All the pride, human skill, and all the cleverness that thinks "my gifts are really useful for the Kingdom" go.
It's a different dynamic, but how many Christians want to embrace this?
Christianity was never meant to be a business with methods to do things for God. It's surely about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and His love demonstrated through the sacrifice of the Son of God, and lived out by us, that will touch people lives.
We need to seek God in order to hear His heart afresh on our own and as fellowships. Mission has to be birthed out of that, then His Kingdom's presence will become an increasing reality where the lost are found, the sick are healed and God's glory is manifest.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
Retired Church of England vicar
Ministering in the far north of Scotland
View all Life Files by Gareth Davies