Holistic approach to faithPublished 7:51am Monday, July 22, 2013
Larry P. Stover
Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene
One of the great things about being a pastor is the privilege of seeing people changing their life. When anyone accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior, there is a radical metamorphosis that takes place that affects every part of their being. There is not only a spiritual change; there are changes that take place mentally, physically and emotionally as well.
Jesus was all about holistic ministry. He reminded us that throughout scripture we were admonished to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. When you stop to think about that command, it covers our spiritual, mental, physical and emotional. That really doesn’t leave anything out. As I have been looking at the problems that surround being a “lukewarm” believer this summer, this finds its way to the surface as a major issue in our area.
We like to believe that “we love Jesus.” The problem, as I see it, revolves around the quantitative and qualitative assessments of how much we really love the Lord.
We like people to know that Jesus Christ is a part of our lives, but only a part. He gets a fraction of our time. Leftover energy might be reserved for Him or responsibilities I have in the church. Forget about tithing; I’ll give the church whatever is left over if there happens to be anything. Some lukewarm believers will tell you that loving God spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically is a lofty ideal. They try to love God that much but it is so difficult because there are so many things pulling them in opposing directions to allow that level of commitment.
Conclusions are drawn! That level of relationship is really awesome, but it is not meant for the average person. It is only meant for pastors, missionaries and radicals. Confession is good for the soul! If that is your conclusion, it becomes easy to begin reading the teachings of Jesus Christ as being meant for super believers. The more we convince ourselves that this is not meant for the average person, the easier it is for us to develop a lukewarm relationship with Jesus.
If this is only for pastors, then why does the Bible tell me to preach this, not as a loft ideal but as a way of life. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to present our life to Jesus Christ as a “living sacrifice.” We are not to be conformed to this world. People should see a change in us. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, when Jesus Christ comes into your life, the old is gone and everything becomes new.
The Bible calls us to a higher plane of living as a Christian. Lukewarm believers will never win Dallas County, Alabama to Christ and the church. Let’s get excited about a daily walk with Jesus. It will make your life “simply beautiful.”