Don't Let the Sermon Fail!
Have you ever tried to change someone’s habit without success? You kept arguing, but it just didn’t help?
We probably change a habit on other grounds than logical thinking. Real change is made on a much deeper, emotional or maybe even spiritual level. It’s the level where we manage things like courage and fear, trust and distrust, faith and doubt.
It seems to me like most of us, most of the time are not really ready for a change. Although we may not be quite happy about a certain habit, we still prefer the status quo. It just feels safer or easier; at least we know what we got and we hope that it will not get worse.
This is the situation every preacher is facing. While we as the audience are nodding our heads in agreement to the sermon, our inside is already blocking the change. And for not exposing our half-heartedness, we escape into pretending. However, true preaching aims at change, changed attitudes, decisions and actions, including habits.
How can we go on listening week after week and still stay unaffected?
The explanation is that listening without acting leads into passive, ritualized behavior. And listening to still more sermons leads into even deeper passivity. It immunizes against the message, makes you favor the status quo and end up in self-affirmation and complacency, the perfect setting for a convenient, religious behavior.
Then, listening to more sermons becomes counterproductive. It makes you feel spiritual without being it.
We fool ourselves when we think of having accomplished anything by just listening and agreeing.
On the other hand, in case we are honest and willing to change, good sermons can be quite useful and inspiring. If you are ready to change, they can help you make a good decision and then act accordingly.
It’s up to you and me to make it happen.
Pamela I have tried so hard to get people to see their true self so they can get the help they need from God and man and it has only resulted in futile arguments as you point out! Most people just want to talk about their problems and they will go on repeating it to anyone who would listen. The only thing that can change me or anyone is time spent alone with God … unhurried time …. listening to the heart of God and giving control of my life again and again back to Him so Christ can be born in me and live in me. This is a daily struggle until the surrender is total and perfection is won in Christ!! Apostle Paul is a great example to follow!