In his book Jesus Christ: Disciplemaker, Bill Hull touches on a very important point: “The problem at its root is that we have accepted a non-discipleship Christianity that leads to plenty of motion, activity and conferences but no lasting transformation.” Transformation God’s way is key. We find that notably mentioned in Romans 12. Take a look:
What a great statement. Based on what God has done for us, His people, we give our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to God. We give Him everything as a sacrifice on the altar gives it all. We break from the way the culture around us operates and thinks and go His way being transformed by God into a new person. Yeah, that is good.
How does that stop the HD church? The emphasis on God and His ways and not me and my ways is a great place to start. Then in a veritable explosion of wisdom chapter 12 of Romans opens up in ways that offers healing to the wounded church that was in Rome and received this letter in the first century. Look at this to begin with. Big personalities and opinions exist among most people, right? Imagine for a moment the challenge of powerful political Romans mixing with the slaves of the city and trying to overcome the day to day social order at a church gathering. Not only were there socio-economic issues, but religious heritage of the Jewish believers who carried a particular prestige in this new order. How do you deal with pride problems in such an arrangement? Here we go:
The standard for evaluation is this wonderful faith God has given us, and not the standard of Rome or Jerusalem. In our day we have our own reasons for pride, but whatever they are they fall short of measuring up to God’s level and it serves us well to go His way.
The brokenness of the HD church leaves a mess of pieces all over the place. Romans 12 points us to unity in Christ as one body. Do you know how we are to get to one body from all the pieces? We are to acknowledge that we are different (not in ethnicity or material possessions or personal power or religious heritage). We are different people blessed to bless others in the church for the good of all. The emphasis is on giving and not getting. Unity in the body follows the grace shown. Here is how Romans 12 puts it.
Instead of focusing on division there is a unity in Christ’s body based on serving one another with a special function. Serving, giving, sharing whatever one has is important and not the individual function…do it well as God has given the ability. This is so good.
God offers such a life for each and all of those who are His that it is hard to even grasp. It stretches the imagination. It radiates in glowing light. It challenges to the very core. The plan includes the ekklesia, the people of God gathered as the church. His best for us is often wrapped up in a group of imperfect people. It is there in that strange amalgamation of personalities and problems that God works His transformation in us. The more we lay our lives on the altar as living and holy sacrifices and stop conforming to the world but allow Him to work His transforming ways in us our lives will be enriched, our families will be blessed, our communities will see a newness of life. The HD church will always struggle trying to fix itself by earthly means, but the King has always been able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.