Last month I introduced the idea of resolving to please God (II Corinthians 5:9) for the whole year of 2022. This month I want to extend that by sharing additional thoughts about inviting both Christians and non-Christians to make it their ambition to please God.
So let me start again. Could it be that the biggest reason why professing Christians are reticent and slow to share the faith with others is because we carry inside ourselves an unexamined belief that non-Christians are not required to please God? In my estimation, most people who have attended seeker-targeted churches have been socialized to think that non-Christians are off-the-hook when they defy God. Who can fault an unbeliever for not acting like a Christian? Unbelievers don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit. Who are we to tell them that they, too, are responsible to live their lives unto God?
If what I just said describes yours and my mentality, then really, it is no wonder that America has secularized. Historically when Americans were told in clear terms that all of us are meant to serve God, we had a national revival.
In William Law’s 1729 Christian classic, A Serious Call To A Devout and Holy Life, which is the main book attributed for sparking the First Great Awakening, I found sentences and paragraphs such as this:
As the whole world is God’s, so the whole world is to act for God.
All things are God’s, so all things are to be used and regarded as the things of God. For men to abuse things on earth and live to themselves is the same rebellion against God as for angels to abuse things in heaven; because God is just the same Lord of all on earth, as He is Lord of all in heaven.
This is the common business of all persons in this world.
If a man labors to be rich, and pursues his business, that he may raise himself to a state of figure and glory in the world, he is no longer serving God in his employment; he is acting under other masters, and has no more title to a reward from God, than he that gives alms, that he may be seen, or prays, that he may be heard of men. For vain and earthly desires are no more allowable in our employments, than in our alms and devotions.
William Law believed that every person owes it to God to do everything they do for the sake of God. What is your belief? What is mine?
Do we have any sense of conviction to let people know when they forsake God’s ways at their own expense? Are you and I responsible to notify others of our human obligation to our Creator?
My observation is that very, very few professing followers of Christ have any vision at all of sensitizing the public to God’s will. Granted, we might think it’s possible for a whole village in Africa to come to Christ. But we can hardly fathom insurance lawyers worshiping God or students in university asking their professors how to help society serve God.
What I’m getting to is this: Americans have secularized because we ourselves have secularized to the point of us accepting secularization. If we cannot imagine unchurched people in our country learning to please God, we are probably going to excuse them for not doing so.
The chances of us seeing fellow citizens please God are probably diminished because we aren’t even trying to invite our fellow citizens to see that they were made to please God. Truth is, most of us put far more effort into trying to look good or get something else done or earn more money or avoid hardship instead of making it our goal (to the point that we try hard) to earnestly and honestly please God.
I invite you to reconsider your perspective on this with me. I myself want to change, so that I become more deliberate about helping other people please God.
Dear Lord, we pray for forgiveness for making so little effort to do our best to please You. So often we try to please others as a way of pleasing ourselves. Please awaken us. Please revive us. Revive me, O Lord, according to Thy Word. Remove the false way from me. Please give all of us understanding, so that we begin to desire to talk about You more openly and generously with others to help them know that they cannot thrive and that we cannot thrive together unless we follow Your ways and tilt ourselves relationally to please You. We pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen
Sarah Sumner, Ph.D., MBA
President, Right On Mission