I know we’ve all done it. We’re sitting in church on a Sunday morning listening to the sermon. The pastor says something and we immediately elbow the person sitting next to us as if to say, “Pay attention. You need to hear this! This is all about you!” Or we’ll hear the preacher say something and mentally elbow a person we think really needs to hear this. We’ve all done it! Don’t deny it!
Did you know one pastor says this elbowing tendency is characteristic of “spiritual degeneracy.” Ouch!
When Jonathan Edwards was preaching on a passage from Isaiah 58, he told his congregation spiritual degeneracy causes people to “…think of the wickedness of another person they’ve had difficulty with…but not look inwardly.” During times of spiritual degeneracy we’ll complain about other people’s sins, but let ourselves off the hook. Wow!
By contrast, Edwards argues a spiritually vital Christian declares he/she is the chief of sinners and the most underserving. The first priority in listening to preaching is one’s own heart and life. It is to take the log out of our own eyes first.
Physically or mentally elbowing someone else in church on Sunday? Let’s elbow ourselves first!