“How you get them is how you’ll keep them.”
My college pastor handed down this lovely tidbit of knowledge in a chapel service to my my fellow college students. While the implications for being a person of honesty and genuineness work for men too, for women, an extra application is the need to develop our inner beauty and not just our outer beauty.
I was thinking about this while attending Sunday service recently.
Our worship services, specifically the songs and the order of service, are the outward beauty of our local congregations. And we pretty much all have a “type,” don’t we? Except that song styles ebb and flow or change with each new song leader.
One of my long-time soapboxes is the plethora of songs that we sing that little to no doctrinal purity or value. While not every hymn or song we sing has to be theologically rich, I’ve sat through several services in numerous churches in which doctrinal songs are ignored for experience ones.
It’s fine to sing about our love for the Lord, but what about the Lord do we love? If we aren’t digging into the Word in our churches, then we won’t know.
The most important thing about a church is that it proclaims the truth of the Word of God. While personal devotions are vitally important to our spiritual growth, the fact that Christians in America are unfamiliar with our foundational doctrines mean that those doctrines probably aren’t being taught much from our pulpits.
Why complain that they took the Bible out of schools when we don’t care that we can barely find it in our churches?
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it... .
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. — Ephesians 4:7, 14 & 15 (emphasis mine)
Sometimes we don’t get into teaching doctrine from the pulpit or our small groups because we don’t want to create division. Sadly, we miss out on the things that unify us. We can have strong division in certain interpretations, but be unified in realizing how undeserving we are of the grace bestowed on us.
Speaking of grace… how often have you heard that we need to be people of grace and truth?
Seek the truth and you will find Jesus.*
The more we seek truth in the Word of God to know the truth, the more we are led to grace. If we’re afraid of proclaiming truth in our churches because we think it will negate grace — or graciousness — there’s a good chance we haven’t been seeking for truth deep enough. We’re just looking for proof text to win an argument. Seeking the truth will lead us to Jesus and when face to face with Jesus, how can we not woo people with grace?
Instead, we’d rather woo people with slick song services; we replace awe of God with entertainment.
We can capture the awe of God as we pursue truth, partake of truth, and then proclaim it. And while entertainment will fade like outward beauty, seeking to be awed by God will captivate us all the days of our lives.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” — John 8:31-32
*I like this quote so much, I had to use it twice. See note on “Truly, Worthy, Deeply – Part 1”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.