Scripture informs us as to the depths of our sinfulness before the holy God. We rebel outwardly disobeying His perfect commandments turning aside from His way (Romans 3:12). After our father Adam, we are born sinners (Psalm 51:5 and Romans 5:12-13). Our sin issue goes down to the depths of our heart which Scripture testifies to saying “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9)?” Down to the core of who we are as human beings, we are sinners. Which is why Christ came not merely to bring some changes in our lives as believers. No, He came to make us a new creation, to give us new hearts, to bring about the new birth (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ezekiel 36:26, and John 3:1-15). After we are saved by the power of the Spirit through the Gospel of Christ, we are given new desires. The battle of sanctification is putting off the ways of the flesh learning to walk in mature submission to the Lord in everything with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7, 3:5-17).
The year 2023 has been interesting in evangelical circles. Christian nationalism, political theology, and eschatology have all been central debates within conservative circles. That being said, I believe that some issues over the last couple of weeks must be highlighted as we prepare to move forward into another year. Andy Stanley hosted the Unconditional Conference in September which was geared “for parents of LGBTQ+ children and for ministry leaders looking to discover ways to support parents and LGBTQ+ children in their churches.”1 This conference was problematic on multiple levels. The conference speaker list included two men in homosexual “marriages.”2 Advertising for the conference promised that it would be a “quieter middle space” to engage the topic of the LGBTQ+ children.3 Another speaker at the event is David Gushee who has described the Bible as being “deeply problematic.” At the end of the day, this was a conference designed to back away from the biblical teaching on sexuality and try to craft a “middle space” between conservative biblical teaching and the secular progressive agenda.
Brethren, if we are to be faithful in the work of the ministry we must be intentionally focused on what Christ has called us to. There is no doubt that there are many different areas which could distract us. Our personal sin, laziness, or even an inability to properly prioritize can lead us to drift along instead of purposely pursing the path of Christ. Distractions abound around us in the form of social media, entertainment, and even the ideas of individuals could detract from the calling of Christ. We need to remain driven to see what He has called us to with clarity so that we can wisely steward our lives well for His glory. The Apostle Paul, knowing our need to remain intentionally focused, told Timothy: