Socialized Immaturity

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10).

There should be no division within the church. As Christians, we should gather together and worship God in the house of God with purity and oneness of heart. Regardless of financial standing, vocation, race, or age, the church must be united.

Satan’s goal is to divide the house of God. He will use any method he can. He will try to divide the rich from the poor, the men from the women, the youth from the adults, and people from different racial and cultural backgrounds. As Christians, we must take a stand. We must not allow the enemy to divide the church.

For example, in the Bible, there were three social age groups — babies, children, and adults. The young boys did not become teenagers when they turned thirteen, they became men. Many of the disciples of Jesus were in their teens when Jesus called them. Timothy was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem at the age of 17. Although he was young, he was a man and he was mature. He was no longer a baby, nor was he a child, but stood as a man of God and as an overseer of God’s house.

The apostle Paul said it this way: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Paul didn’t say he became a teenager, he didn’t say he became a youth. He became a man.

I regularly speak at ministers’ conferences and it seems that one question keeps coming to the surface: “Why is it so difficult to get younger people involved in the church?” Or pastors ask, “How can we change our services to make them attractive to young people?”

Actually, we are dealing with two issues here. The first issue is what I call “socialized immaturity.” Our modern society has made it socially acceptable to be immature for as long as you can get away with it. Remember, in the Bible there are babies, children, and adults. In modern society, however, we have created a fourth group. We now have babies, children, youth, and adults.

The youth culture extends into middle age! It’s not uncommon for me to meet with men in their thirties, forties, and fifties who are still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Toys, games, pleasures of the world, and laziness have been infused into our young people and it has been carried over into the church.

The second issue is that today’s church is desperately trying to appeal to this new group. The youth feel that they must be entertained, tantalized, and mesmerized by high tech visually enticing services. The church is trying to compete with the world for the souls of our young people. But the more the church tries to compete with and be like the world, the more irrelevant the church becomes.

The world is not looking for what it already has. The world is looking for a way of escape from the bondage of sin. Deep in their hearts they are hoping that the church is the answer. However, when they come to the church and find the church trying to imitate them, they lose hope. All the while, the church tries to become more extreme. It is a vicious cycle of one-upmanship. This is a battle the church can’t win because they are using the tools of the world instead of the Word.

Of course, we are to be sensitive to the needs of people and the visitors should feel comfortable and at peace in the house of God. However, the church should be an assembly of those who believe. The church should be dramatically different than the world.

Some churches and denominations have gone to the other extreme and have become so liturgical and solemn that they actually exclude and intimidate and make Christianity seem like a form of elitism. There is a ditch on each side of the road. One ditch excludes everyone and makes the rules so stringent that it’s almost impossible to enter in. The other ditch is so oversensitive that almost everything is accepted in order to not offend anyone.

There must be balance in the church and that balance is the Word of God being taught by ministers of God in a reverent house where the Holy Spirit is drawing in people. In that atmosphere souls will be saved, lives will be changed, bodies will be healed, marriages restored, and families of all ages will enjoy worshiping God together.

The role of ministers should not be to take the problems of the people to God. Instead, their duty is to spend time seeking God and then take His Word to the people.

As the new church was being formed, the apostle Peter said there was a big decision that needed to be made: are we going to be pleasers of men, or are we going to be pleasers of God? (Galatians 1:10). Don’t take me wrong. I am not against contemporary worship services, but remember this—flashing lights, smoke machines, and 125 decibel music can get people excited for the moment, but only a manifestation of the glory of God and a move of the Holy Spirit will change people permanently.

Devotion 0501

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