By Neil Anderson
When you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words
Jesus taught that Christian practices should be consistent with the inward condition of the heart. Holding to external practices which no longer correlate with the heart is repugnant to God. Jesus railed against praying in vain repetitions and putting on a gloomy face while fasting. Consistency cries for an affirmative answer to the question, “Is it real?” The Christian community searches for truth while the world searches for reality. These are large, overlapping circles, but I’m convinced that we must be real in order to be right. Change is most needed when Christians sit stoically week after week reciting endless creeds in utter hypocrisy.
Tragically, those who are coming to a church simply to fulfill a religious obligation are the most resistant to change. They have resisted the need to change under the instruction of the Word and are in a state of carnality. They are not coming to the changeless Christ and saying, “Change me so I may be like You.” Time-honored faith and long-established practices often become intertwined in their thinking. When you advocate a different practice, they think you are tinkering with their faith!
Paradoxically, the ones who have a real Christian experience are the ones who are free to change their Christian practices. They are committed to the substance of their faith, not the form. Form always follows function, but people have a tendency to fixate on the form.
Organizational renewal will not bring spiritual renewal. When the spiritual tide is out, every little tadpole wants his own little tide pool to swim in. When the spiritual tide is in, the fish swim in one big ocean where someone is synchronizing every move. When the Holy Spirit is leading, almost any organization will work. But when He isn’t, it doesn’t matter how good the program and organization is, it won’t work.
Prayer: Lord, I will not rest my faith on my Christian practice, but I will base my faith and practice on the truth of Your Word.