Today, I am in Birmingham, Alabama at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. This year, the conference is attended by more than 2000 elders, and for the next three days, my fathers and brothers will be celebrating, fellowshiping, learning, worshiping, reviewing, debating, and voting.
Also, for the next three days, we will be sinning.
How many ways can we sin? Well, the answer is almost infinite. Let me speak for myself. I can …
- Fail to give thanks for what God has done and is doing in the PCA.
- Discount the working of the Holy Spirit in the events of this week.
- Devalue the work of doing ecclesiastical things “decently and in order.”
- Waste the Lord’s time, money, and influence.
- In conversations, covet the ministry post, gifts, or successes of others.
- In conversations, pose and elevate myself, taking credit for anything profitable the Lord has done.
- In thought, look down upon those whose visible ministry trajectories involved great struggle.
- In thought, despise those who will most likely vote differently than me.
- In thought, judge the unseen motivations of others — assuming the worst of them.
- In voting, fail to pray without ceasing.
- In voting, make my decisions based upon peer pressure.
- In voting, make my decisions in a legalistic way betraying the free Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- In voting, make my decisions in a libertine way discounting the beauty of God’s revealed laws.
- After debate and voting, gossip and slander with like-minded friends or via social media.
- All throughout the week, consider myself and my views as better than others.
- All throughout the week, forget I am the “chief of sinners” who is fantastically adored by Christ.
Therefore, this morning, I have already slowed down and have had a talk with my Lord. I have enjoyed the process of Gospel repentance.
And now, I supplicate and wait, “Holy Spirit, fall fresh on me and us. Help us to love our fathers and brothers, help us to love your church, help us to love you. And, if we have enemies, help us to love those who despise us as well. Then, help us to show our love through affections, thoughts, words, and voting remotes informed by your Word, Gospel, and Spirit.