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While traveling this summer, I am visiting a different church every week just to see what they’re like and to discover if any of them exhibit traits of what I call Impact Churches.
There was a guest preacher at the church I visited a few weeks ago. Wilky Clark is a missionary who serves poverty-stricken kids in Haiti who are living in the same conditions he endured as a child.
In his sermon, Clark made a profound observation. The only real recorded example of Jesus expressing anger came when he flipped over the tables of vendors who had set up business inside the temple in Jerusalem.
Why did Jesus react that way? Because the tables didn’t belong there. It was a house of worship.
In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul tells us that we, as Christians, are the temple of the holy spirit.
Clark asked if there were things within us that didn’t belong and needed to be turned upside down.
That’s a great observation, and the answer would always be “yes.”
Christians who are viewing porn, need to flip that lust upside down. So do Christians with anger, pride, selfishness, gluttony, and the myriad of other issues that seem to entice us to remain less than what we are called to be.
I once heard that Christians should be repenting of something every week. If you’re not repenting of something, get on your knees and ask God where you should begin.
We know we fall far short of God’s standard of holiness. Just as soon as we seem to get a handle on one trait that keeps us from reflecting Jesus’ true character, he gives us something else to address.
It reminds me of the scene from the classic movie Animal House in which a fraternity pledge is initiated with whacks on the bottom with a large paddle. The initiate must shout out, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?”
God doesn’t delight in inflicting pain on us. However, sometimes there is pain when Jesus is flipping things upside down in our lives.
We know it’s ultimately for our own good. So we really should be thanking him for the changes he has made in us, and asking him to give us something else to work on.
Philippians 1:6 promises that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
That means that Jesus is going to be flipping things over inside of us for the rest of our lives. Get used to it.
It’s not that we’re bad people. As Christians, we just have bad tendencies. When we ask Jesus to come into our lives to serve as Lord and savior, then he’s going to take us at our word that we want to become like him.
He’s going to come into his temple, which dwells in us, and flip things upside down. Hopefully, unlike the example in John 2:15, Jesus doesn’t need to fashion a whip of cords to persuade us to remove those things that don’t belong in our lives.