Peterson mentions a woman who lived a life outside of Christ for many years. She became a Christian when visiting a church. And then she knew something had to be different, no longer the life of alcohol, drugs, and sex. But she didn’t know anything about living. Peterson continues:
But do you know what she found most difficult? American churches. Not that she wasn’t welcomed. She was. She was something of a prize, a “brand plucked from the burning”—a Christian! But she also found that these American churches seemed to know everything about being born in Jesus’ name but seemed neither interested nor competent in matters of growing into the “measure of the full stature of Christ.”
She looked around her and saw that her new friends were doing the same thing she had done earlier, only not so obviously. These churches seemed to her to be full of ideas and projects that they used as she had once used alcohol, drugs, and sex—to avoid God, to avoid being present in life, being present to neighbor. They were doing everything religious except following Jesus.…She was alarmed by the parallels to her former life and determined to live more sanely as a Christian than she had as a pagan. (pp. 4–5, Practice Resurrection)
Now that is an indictment! This is a challenge for every Christian, as well pastors and leaders. These questions will help us in our study of Ephesians.
Do we even see the parallels she mentions? Are we running around busy with church activities so that we avoid what it means to follow Christ? Have we looked for short term goals rather than long term maturity in Christ?
Scott Bennett wrote on his blog this past week:
“I don’t have to have 5 million Followers or Fans to make a difference. I can invest deeper in those right around me, and let the breadth take care of itself.”
I think he has caught something of this maturing in Christ.