Anyway, as a part of the message, I mentioned to the audience that I stood before them as a "fellow-struggler." I told them (without mentioning details) that I struggled with lust, anger, pride, laziness, and materialism (among other things). My point in doing this was to highlight what I see as a serious flaw in most of the church congregations with which I have been associated--There is a lack of true openness and honesty amongst members of the body of Christ. We all know that we struggle, but there is often very little true accountability or encouragement in our mutual struggles.
Over the past year, I have had two very eye-opening experiences. First, I have struggled and faltered in my Christian walk more than any other time I can remember since I was saved at the age of 14. Second, I have heard (either first or second-hand) of numerous other Christians who are also struggling--more than I ever realized. These two have combined to teach me this--life is messy. The Christian life is messy. We are broken people. Our Sunday morning services (and the clothes we wear to them) may be sharp and clean and crisp, but that which lies beneath is not. We are sinners--saved by grace no doubt--but sinners nonetheless.
Now, I can allow this realization to breed cynicism and disillusionment in my mind (Honestly, it has at times), or I can allow it to breed a strong desire for cleansing, healing, and victory for me and my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am choosing the latter. We may be broken, but we are not irreparable. I believe that true, consistent victory over the flesh is possible through Christ. I am becoming more and more convinced, that the first step is an openness within our ranks. Not the kind of openness that flaunts the sordid details of our struggles, but the kind of openness that admits our shortcomings (even the dirty ones) and seeks true transformation. I do not believe the atmosphere in many churches is conducive to this type of transparency, but it needs to be.
How can we create such an atmosphere? Well, let's consider that in another post.