I've said it before, I love my church. If I am in Kentucky for no other reason than to be a member of this church, it's a good enough reason for me. After service last Sunday I dropped into the local grocery store to pick up some ingredients for our women's bible study pot-luck. One of the other members of the church was picking up some lunch. She made an unsolicited remark that she too loved to hear the Word preached the way our pastor does it- in its entirety. "I can't believe I wasted all those years listening to garbage." I wanted to hug her. I know exactly how she feels.
I remember feeling betrayed when I realized I was being taught fluff and nonsense. I remember thinking I would be so much further along in my sanctification process by now, if only I had the truth preached to me after I was saved. I fancied that I could probably have been the protestant version of Mother Theresa, if only. . . That was 17 years ago and before I wrestled with the Doctrines of Grace. I have a far more realistic picture of myself now.
As I listened to my pastor preach yesterday on Philippians 3, he said some things that helped me see how much God has changed me. Pastor is making certain we understand how dangerous it is to put our confidence in our flesh instead of Christ. He said, "The biggest issue facing the church today is where you place your dependency." I am so guilty of trying to be the good Christian soldier and be all I can be. I seldom check with God to see if my idea of being sanctified and God's idea of my sanctification are congruent. I want to pull myself up by my own bootstraps. I want to impress God. Yeah, like that's going to happen. I am an idiot. "Unless the LORD builds the house...."(Psalm 127)
He also talked of a conversation he had with Al Mohler some time ago where Dr Mohler correctly called Oprah Winfrey the most influential 'clergyman' of our time. Not the exact quote, but the gist is accurate. Look at her now...spiritual guru and mentor to the world. Confession time: I remember actually liking Oprah. I was in awe when she switched her talk show genre from sensationalism to self-helpism. I thought she showed integrity and great business sense by making the change. I was half-right. I was half-right about a lot of things back then. Thanks be to God that He didn't ask my permission to change that. Oh, I can still be wrong, the part he changed is the part that used relativism and subjective standards to label things either good or bad. God's word sets my standards now.
Yup, I can so understand my sister in Christ lamenting that she spent years of her life listening to garbage. But-here's the main thing I gained from yesterday's sermon. "Joy is contingent upon truth." The truth is our sanctification is perfectly timed and orchestrated by Almighty God. If we get lost in what might have been, we have no choice but to be miserable. Could have, would have, should have and if only... these thoughts do not spring from the truth. Joy is contingent on truth.