While out and about today, I heard an advertisement for a church that used as one of it's points of attraction that it was a place that was "relevant and safe." I confess, I don't understand the fascination with the term "relevant." I know it means that the messages are relevant to where people are living. I just wonder if such messages reach people where their hearts are really living? Maybe a better question is, how much of what we call "worship" is relevant to Him? Isn't the whole concept of worship to be centered on Him, and not us? I believe any message based on His Word, and preached in the power of His Holy Spirit will be "relevant" to where our hearts are at. We will run from it or accept it, but it will surely meet us where we are. Still, the part of the ad I really focused on was that of offering people a "safe place." I understand that as well. There have been churches and leadership that have abused, and people do need to be kept safe from such abuse. On every and all levels. But I wonder, for those who hear that ad, just how are they understanding the word "safe?" What is it in their lives that they wish to keep safe?
Any real encounter will Jesus Christ will be decidedly unsafe for our flesh, for our sinful habits and attitudes. For our spiritual laziness, apathy, and self-absorption. Against such, against everything that is set up against Him in our hearts and minds, Jesus Christ does indeed bring a sword. And trust me in this, He will not hesitate to use it. That which is within us, that hurts us, harms others, and promotes the kingdom of darkness will not be safe from Him. All of that will rise up against Him, resisting Him with all its strength. He will be relentless in His desire to destroy it all. All of it, and all of it that is within us, will not be safe. And He will not leave it unchallenged. Indeed, He will attack it with all His might. Can I say that there is nothing more relevant for this day than that? Nothing is safe from Him, but everything, and everyone is safe in Him. He's not safe, but He's good. If He truly has His way with us, we will be as well. So will the fellowships of which we're a part. They are not gatherings of His people that are safe as the flesh defines safety, but they are Body's that are good. Filled with His goodness. Dangerous to all that is darkness and death, but the fullness of His Life to all that remains.
Batterson said something to the effect that if we live fully in Him, He will lead us out to where darkness and light clash. The flesh will never be safe here, but it is here that we will see the power of the Sword of His Spirit. It will pierce darkness and death. It is where we are to live, to minister, to worship. I don't know if this is what the church who put together the ad had in mind, but I do believe it is what is in His mind. Is it in yours and mine? Relevant and safe. It's all in how we define it, isn't it? How do we define it?