Spiritual Formation

Matthew Morine

The local congregation is made up of the children of light who light up the world. The local body of believers live in the darkened world of sin but remain "blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Philippians 2:15). Those who incorporate the church are literally a beacon of purity in a tarnished culture.

There are two explanations why many congregations do not live up to the standard of Christ set forth by God. The first problem in many local congregations is distraction. Satan has been sly in deceiving Christians. In fact, Satan will use whatever he can to divert a Christian's attention from spiritual transformation. In the past, and surely in the present, Satan has used bickering, buildings, and battles to sidetrack believers. Stories of congregational division over the color, size, or location of a building are all too common in the church. During the medieval times, those claiming to be the people of God spent countless hours chasing after the Holy Lands and the Holy Grail. These pursuits were deceiving the people into believing that this was an act of service to God. The Hebrew writer wisely commands "... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us ..." (Hebrews 12:1).

Another reason why the children of light do not shine as brightly as God intends is the problem of diversion. Satan has used the attractions of this world to infatuate Christians. Many Christians are too overwhelmed with the pursuit of pleasure, recreation, sports, and money to spend the necessary time in spiritual formation. Who has time to pray when there is golf to play? Satan has fooled the Christians into believing that these pursuits are as equally valuable as the desire for Christian growth. Christ plainly rebukes this mindset by saying, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness ..." (Matthew 6:33).

A Christian must be on guard against the tactics of the Devil. Satan sometimes uses subtle methods to inconspicuously lure man away from his created purpose. The Tempter will do whatever he can to keep people from being transformed into the children of light. 304 Hassell St., P.O. Box 33, Waynesboro, TN 38485. mmorine@hotmail.com


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