By Tim Spivey
Christians rightfully take great comfort from “If God is for us, who can be against us?” What a marvelous truth! Nevertheless, there can be danger in thinking God is always on our side. A good question for us to ask constantly is, “Are we blessable right now?”
I’ve been surprised over the years at how many churches take for granted God wants them to succeed at their endeavors – despite ongoing sin in the camp. It’s not that leaders don’t care if there’s sin in the camp. They either don’t recognize it or lack the humility or courage to acknowledge, confront and deal with it.
Leaders that abuse power will be humbled. That which has been swept under the carpet for years – well, the carpet will soon be pulled up. Evil sown in times of prosperity may be reaped in times of lean. If nothing else expect your efforts to be frustrated. No matter how large, how resourceful or how vibrant the church, we all still need God. The church is still His.
God has no intention of blessing a church bearing His Son’s name that isn’t serious about righteous inside-out and from top down. Obviously, perfection is impossible and God undoubtedly grants grace sovereignly even when we don’t deserve it. However, one of our biggest leadership blind spots can be the sin in the camp that keeps us from winning battles God wants us to fight and win – as His people experienced at Ai. I’m not arguing for spiritual McCarthyism here. I’m saying to the church, as Joshua did, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you (Joshua 3:5).”
Just because God graciously blesses us once doesn’t mean we are entitled to it evermore. After the Goliath incident, surviving Saul’s efforts to kill him, and rising to be the popular king of the free world, David had every reason to assume God was on his side when Nathan came to visit him that day. In a sense, God was on his side, offering Nathan’s prophetic word to awaken David to his sin. In another way, David clearly feels God is with him when he commits adultery and murder. Was He?
Sometimes you’re in a storm because that’s just ministry. However, sometimes it’s because Jonah is on board. Sometimes the struggle you’re going through or the church is going through isn’t because you’re facing a Goliath with a few rocks and a slingshot. It’s that you’re facing Goliath as latter day David – distanced from God’s blessing by sin. Fighting Goliath with stones, a slingshot and no God is spiritual/ministerial suicide. That’s blindest of blind spots. For, without God, we even have difficulty seeing our own blindness.
Know that God wants to bless you and your church.
If you need to, confess and repent, and really do it today. God won’t despise a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Approach the throne of grace with confidence that you may receive mercy and grace to help you in your time of need.
Then, with God on your side, sling those rocks.
Dr. Tim Spivey is lead planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, CA. Tim is also an adjunct professor of religion at Pepperdine University and purveyor of New Vintage Leadership, a blog offering cutting-edge insights on leadership and theology. He is the author of numerous articles and the book Jesus, the Powerful Servant.