“And [Jesus] answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” (Mark 9:19; see also Matthew 17:17 and Luke 9:41)
Jesus is loving, kind and patient. We need, therefore, to really pay attention when He expresses His exasperation with His disciples, particularly when it is reported in three of the Gospels.
Jesus sent His twelve disciples out with the authority to both proclaim and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. (Luke 9:1-2; Mark 6:7-13) But after initial success, they came to a time of failure. The people to whom they were witnessing had no belief in the Kingdom they proclaimed because there was no demonstration of Kingdom power – no difference between what the crowd saw in the disciples and what they saw in themselves.
This is not the only time Jesus expressed exasperation with His disciples. (Matthew 16:8-12; John 14:9) It is, however, a time when Jesus explains two reasons for His exasperation. They had little faith, and they forgot to pray. (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:29)
My friends, if Jesus was exasperated with His disciples then, just imagine how exasperated He must be with us.
There were twelve of them, plus some very faithful women, and then 120 of them at Pentecost. (Acts 1:15) They changed the world. We have over 200 million professing Christians in the United States and, for the most part, the world is changing us.
Just to give a few examples, national studies by Pew Research Center and Barna Group indicate most of our young people are leaving the Church. Only a small percentage of younger people and less than a third of all Christians believe in absolute moral truth. And pornography use is epidemic in the Church at all ages, with both genders, and among pastors and priests.
The Church needs to grow up! We need to finish our milk (mostly formula) and begin feasting on solid food. (Hebrews 5:11-6:3) Here are some basic steps we can take [and please read the scriptures]:
First, we must learn to love unconditionally. (1 John 4:7-21) If we don’t have love, we are nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2) We must love God, love each other, love our “Good Samaritan” neighbor and love our enemies. And it must be love in truth and deed, not just talk. (1 John 3:18)
Second, we must have faith not just in God, but in the Bible as God’s written word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Matthew 5:17-19, 28:20) Faith means becoming hearers, studiers and doers of God’s word. (Psalm 1 and 119; James 1:22-25). Remember – if the Bible doesn’t have authority over your life, Jesus doesn’t have authority over your life. (Matthew 7:21-27; John 14:21) Christians who abandon scriptural authority at the behest of humanism and political correctness are taking another bite from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3:1-19)
In pursing this second principle, never neglect the first principle. Faith works through love. (Galatians 5:6) The truth must be spoken in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
Third, we must imitate our King, who washed His disciples’ feet, and emphasize humble service, not self. (Matthew 16:24; John 13:3-17) All Christians are called, gifted and sent out to bear fruit for His Kingdom. (John 15:5-8, 20:21; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11-16) If you want to be first, be last and servant to all. (Mark 9:35)
Fourth, stop putting your trust in “chariots and horses”, that is, in politics or wealth. (Psalm 20:7-8; Luke 12:15-21) Instead, seek the Kingdom and treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-33) Only God can heal our land, and He will do so if we who are called by His name humble ourselves, turn from “OUR” wicked ways, and pray. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
I believe if we prayed together, God could even lead us – white, black, Hispanic and Asian – to vote together and bring sanity to our government. (Mark 9:23, 10:27)
This leads to the fifth principle. The average Christian prays (talks with God) about five minutes per day, less than 1% of the time we spend looking at phone, computer and television screens. If, as God’s house of prayer, we begin to faithfully and unceasingly pray God’s will, we will see incredible results. (Mark 11:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; John 14:12-14; 1 John 5:14-15)
Finally, we all must be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8; Romans 8:14; Ephesians 5:18) Read the Book of Acts. Read the four Bible chapters most of the Church is ignoring: John 14-17. When you are finished, read them again, and again, and believe.
Too many Christians are just waiting for God when, in reality, God is waiting for us to grow up and become what these many scriptures call us to be. (2 Peter 3:12) Hasn’t He waited long enough?
God bless you, and God bless our community.