By Ron Branch, Pastor
September 27, 2013
I am not good at heights, but I manage to get up on the roof of our house to do some minor chores at times. The ground level of our house is brick, but the second upper level has the white aluminum siding. It was needful to clean the siding with the power washer, which I did recently.
Most of the roof is covered with regular shingle material. But, the roofing of the down-river side of our house is metal. As I cleaned the side facing the road, the residual spray from the power washer drifted onto the metal portion, which made it wet. It also made it slippery.
I underestimated the slipperiness the spray had made the metal. After getting onto it, I slipped down and starting sliding toward the edge. When I finally got stopped, my feet were hanging over the guttering. I thanked the Lord passionately for keeping me from going over the edge. It was oh, most certainly, an invigorating experience. However, at that point, the ordeal was not quite over.
As it turned out, the Lord later in the day gave a certain spiritual perspective concerning the sliding. The insight given relates to the obvious current spiritual status of the people who claim association with the contemporary postmodern Church.
For example, what I could have thought while in the process of sliding was this: I am sliding off the roof and will hit the ground. But, I think it will turn out okay. What I need to do is to time my descent for a spring off the edge, do about three falling somersaults, and land spritely on my feet. After all, such a maneuver seems to work for gymnasts who go flying through the air.
By contrast, the Christian Church at large is sliding spiritually, which means more poignantly that the people that make up the Church are sliding spiritually. The incongruousness and inanity of it all is that many admit it. They say, “I am sliding out of faithfulness to God. I am sliding out of attending worship services. I am sliding into sinful practice. I am sliding into addiction. I am sliding into adultery. I am sliding into focus on my material possessions. I am sliding into opinions that are not consistent with what the Bible teaches. I am sliding into excuses.”
The consequences of the sliding of the Church are that America is also sliding. Our nation is sliding morally, spiritually, and politically. Marijuana is being legalized. Sodomy is being accepted. Abortions continue to abound. Manners and civility are ignored. Violence against others increases.
All the while, as the heart and soul of Christian distinction within the ranks of the Church is eroding by its own spiritual sliding, so is the decline in the principles that over the year instilled the understanding of right and wrong in the guts of Americans. Christian principles faithfully practiced make an undeniable difference in society. The Church in its spiritual sliding has become ineffective.
But, in the meantime, the people of the Church are calculating that they will land on their feet if they happen to slide off the edge of continual disobedience to the expectations of God. That amounts to spiritual arrogance. To slide over the edge having ignored God will amount to a hurtful landing. Do not count on landing on your feet.
What we can do and need to do is to purposely stop the sliding. “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
For a while, I could not get any traction to back up. Eventually, I did a butt-walk to the outside wall, and, after straining carefully to my feet, I did a Spider Man on the wall (clinging closely), and inched to safety.
As I said, it was an invigorating experience.
Thank you, Jesus.