What this world needs…is The Body of Christ
“What this world needs is for us to care more about the inside than the outside. Have we become so blind that we can’t see God’s gotta change your heart before He changes your shirt? What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance, blending in so well that people can’t see the difference, and it’s the difference that sets the world free.” –Hector Cervantes and Mark Hall
I love the band Casting Crowns. When I first heard them I was a fan, albeit not a huge fan. I preferred praise music and while the Crowns sing a lot of praise music, they also hit me hard with challenging song lyrics I wasn’t really ready for at the time. Deep down, I probably found the challenging lyrics a bit offensive. What this man needed was a true change of heart. My wife got us to a live Crowns concert in 2008 and my impression of the band changed forever. The concert inspired me. The other people at the concert inspired me. The members of the band inspired me. Most importantly, the songs started speaking to me. Loudly. So loudly, in fact, I cried for a few miles as I drove away from the arena.
I’ve seen them live three times since then and each time the worship service is equally as compelling. I raise my hands. I fist-pump. I sing, more like scream, as I never would have imagined ten years ago. My spirits go to another world! I write all this because the words lead singer Mark Hall and the band write have been a wonderful supplement to scripture and motivation in my recently-found conviction. Crowns songs are first choices for my play lists.
This conviction pretty much consumed my life in the summer of 2011 while I was driving to formations for a Walk to Emmaus. I was to give a witness talk that night and while considering what I would say, the song “What This World Needs” came on my CD player. God always has perfect timing, remember that! When the lyrics above rang out, my witness talk took a turn. Based on the verse, I began jotting down new notes for the talk while sitting in the parking lot. I committed myself to stop blending in so well and showing the world “The Difference” that sets every single one of us free!
I mean, could anyone really pick me out as the lone Christian in the crowd? Am I really living up to Romans 12:2 (ironically, the theme verse of that Emmaus Walk)? Has anything I’ve ever done in the name of the Holy Spirit set anyone free from the chains that bond them?
It turns out that the Lord steered my tongue in a different direction for the talk that night but he didn’t leave my heart alone. Those notes are now part of this blog. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) I’ve heard that scripture much of my life but I’ve never taken it seriously and I don’t know if I even fully comprehend yet…or if I ever will. I mean, really think about that. Jesus ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell in us. I’m not even sure God wants any of us to completely understand His word because, if we did, we might stop seeking Him. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we give control of our bodies to the Holy Spirit. He wants hands and feet. He wants our eyes and ears. He wants our voices. He wants us to accomplish His work in this world.
My heart really isn’t worthy, so is my outward appearance “what this world needs?”
My church where the Emmaus formations were held that summer evening is about a 35-minute drive from my home and anytime God has me alone in a car, he chips away at me. On this particular night, that 35-minute drive was an intense roller coaster of emotions. As I returned home from those formations another Casting Crowns song from another CD, “If We Are the Body” played and it drove me to sobbing. I told you the Crowns were one of those artists who really, really moves me. There are always lyrics in a song that drive a stake through my heart when I pay attention. “If we are the body, why aren’t his arms reaching? Why aren’t his hands healing?…Why is his love not showing them there is a way?” Why, when there is The Way?!
So, just why aren’t my arms reaching? Why aren’t my hands healing? Why aren’t I showing anyone The Way? As I write all this, I might as well be looking in a mirror. Why aren’t I doing enough? God didn’t save me from hell to sit me on the sidelines and watch others parade away to eternal damnation. He saved me to “(fight) the good fight…(finish) the race…keep the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7, present tense added by me). Have I done any of what Paul tells me to do to my fullest? Not even close. My fight has been uninspiring so far. I feel like I’m finishing last in the race. I’m hoarding the faith all to myself and not sharing it.
I fear hell has been populated more than Heaven by my actions. I have not been The Body of Christ. How about you? Are you following a lead similar to mine? Take stock and make necessary changes. Now!
For the first 36 years of my life I was happy to be saved and coast right on into Heaven. That’s about the most unbiblical notion I’ve ever practiced as a Christian, and I’ve been an avid practitioner of indifferent Christianity in many other ways. No more. My minister at the Christian Church of Jasper, Darrel Land, has said multiple times from the pulpit that God didn’t save us just to go to Heaven otherwise he would just take us there at the moment we accept his gift of salvation and are saved. I want to live like author and minister Francis Chan writes in his book Forgotten God: “I want to live in such a way that I’m desperate for Him to come through, and if he doesn’t come through, I’m screwed.” Those are very harsh, possibly offensive, words and Chan even debates in the book whether he should have written it. I’m glad he did. I seem to need it to be that front and center in order to get it.
I’m through populating hell with my actions, words, and countless sins of omission. I hope my time on earth is not about up because I need all the rest of it I can get. I’ve got a lot of making up to do.
I’ve got a lot of populating Heaven to do!