Preparing for Church

Often, what we put into something equates to what we receive out of it.

Preparing to go to church is much more than deciding what to wear, ironing a shirt or skirt and checking every hair is in place.

Driving to church may be a mechanical task, almost automatic. But it could be a time of prayer and preparation. It could be a time when we push the reset button on our hearts to fix our minds on the Lord.

How different would church be today if we used what is usually a mechanical task to prepare ourselves?

The Church and Gun Control – Part 5

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Church and Gun Control

(Gal 5:13)  “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

By now, it should be apparent that the position of “The Church” on gun control should be determined as the response of the heart to sound doctrine. Rather than be restrictive or politically prescriptive, gun control for the Christian is really about freedom of choice. You and I have the liberty to choose whatever position we have on this issue as long as our conscience towards God remains pure.

As with any issue, if we are given freedoms under the laws of our land that are not prohibitive in Scripture, we must understand the proper use of that freedom in Christ. If we stand behind a legal requirement to perform a background check for a gun purchase, then let us not use that process to falsely accuse or bear false witness against our neighbor. Let us not use the information we gain to hurt others. If we stand behind the freedom to purchase weapons without many restrictions, let us see the viewpoint of those who have been victimized and vow to protect the innocent – even those who may want to fight against our position and right to bear arms.

We must keep in mind two things. First, we must remember our reactions to other Christians who oppose our position is a testimony to the world – good or bad. Are we willing to sacrifice the possibility of eternal impact for the temporary satisfaction of casting our brothers and sisters down? Second, we must keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to think like Christ so we can live like Christ. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit must be our source.

Who said “The Church” must all agree on this issue? Do we feel we must choose because that is how the media and politics dictate? The bottomline line – is our position on gun control dictated by the flesh or the Spirit? Be honest.

The Church and Gun Control – Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series The Church and Gun Control

(I realize this is a hot topic right now. I also realize that many readers of The Renewed Mind hold a variety of views. But unlike many posts and articles I’ve read recently, this is not an attempt at commentary or political positioning. I intend to put forward a Biblically-based approach. Sometimes, no matter what you intend, people receive what you write the wrong way. For this I apologize in advance for my failure to communicate clearly.)

(Colossians 3:10)  “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”

One of the biggest problems with Christianity in the U.S. today is we qualify the spiritual maturity of other Christians, or those who claim to be, in the light of a political debate. We’ve allowed party membership or political inclinations to determine our view of someone’s spiritual condition. We need to step outside of the political boundaries of the issue. In the discussion over gun control, we need to set our minds in alignment with the mindset of Christ, not a platform. Regardless of how we come down on the topic, we need to allow “the new man” to do the thinking.

In the quiet honesty within our individual minds, we need to ask ourselves the question “Is my opinion on this subject driven by the thoughts and motives of Christ?” When we allow the political agendas of others to create an emotional response in our heart, our faith is blinded. The purity of our response to the Word of God operating in our soul is obscured by the opinions of others. So many who demand honesty in the Scriptures when it comes to doctrine, and would never tolerate the dogmas and doings of large religious organizations, submit themselves to the dogmas and doings of political or quasi-political organizations. Instead, we are called to wear the thoughts and actions of the “new man.” The source of our thought life is not to be in this world but rather in Him who is the source of new life through Christ.

Anger, rebellion, hatred, lust for power and fear are never emotions that come from God. Regardless of how we come down on the issue of gun control, our opinion must be sourced in the thoughts of the “new man” not the “old man.” This takes real honesty and a willingness to submit to God rather than man. It also takes a willingness to step outside of the kingdom of men and live within the boundaries of the Kingdom of God.

 Next – The Church and Gun Control – Part 3