Dorothy Day once said, “The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each of us.” This is the challenge for disciples of Jesus. Christ Himself was a revolutionary. The things He taught were unlike anything His listeners had heard before. His compassion dwarfed all who had come before Him. The wisdom of Jesus was unrivaled, and He demanded obedience and devotion to Himself and the good news He brought.
Fast-forward to today, and we find churches full of so-called Christians content to live their lives in complacency and mediocrity. Instead of committing ourselves to the One who makes all things new, who brings new mercies to bear every morning, we succumb to the philosophy of “there is nothing new under the sun”. We need a revolution of the heart, and we need it today.
I wish the previous paragraph would be enough to wake sleeping Christians from their slumber. I wish a little inspiration and encouragement would motivate people out of their mediocrity. The truth is I know better. Today’s church is stuck in the malaise of generations who have come before us. We didn’t become passive and lazy overnight. These are learned behaviors over hundreds of years. What we desperately need is to recover the zeal and fire of the early church. These men and women gave selflessly of all they had. They gave up their money, their time, and their well-being all for the sake of Christ. We can’t even give up our daily shot of Starbucks.
I grew up in smaller churches, where everyone knew everyone else. The seats (remember pews?) were uncomfortable, the temperature only occasionally climate controlled, and the music – by my measure – was not good. But one thing I remember is I encountered people who really loved God and lived to serve others. There wasn’t a lot of them, but there was always a handful in every church.
These days the seats are plush, the air conditioning splendid, and the music is a bit better. Well, at least it’s louder and electric. That’s a step up in my book, but I know not everyone shares my fascination with loud guitars, thudding bass, and a crisp snare drum. Most churches provide coffee and donuts, ostensibly to make visitors feel welcome. The sad reality is, it’s the regulars who get upset if either is missing on a particular day. The trouble is, most don’t know anyone else, not in a true friendship sort of way. You can find many passionate about their business or programs in the church, but finding hearts overcome with love and devotion to God is rare.
I recognize I am painting with broad strokes here, and it’s always dangerous to do so. If you are a sold-out, totally committed disciple of Jesus who attends a church still completely focused on the mission of Christ, praise God. I’m so thankful for you and the body of believers with whom you worship. For the rest of America and the Western church in general, we are in desperate need of a revolution of the heart. We need to change what we’ve always done and do something new. We need to make a frontal assault on the gates of Hell. It’s past time we stood up against the advance of the enemy in our world. We’ve got to wake up before it’s too late. Stop being comfortable. Stop being safe. Rise up! It begins with a revolution of the heart in each of us. Let’s go!