Some things in life are so easy to understand and we tend to do them without giving it a second thought. Because at times life can be so mundane it’s my belief that we allow ourselves to develop set patterns for doing things. However, when it comes to living for and serving God we can not allow programmed habits to be the standard. Read what Isaiah 29: 13 says, “Then the Lord said,Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote” I have been a believer for ten years now and I continue to have a gnawing desire to draw closer to the Lord Jesus. The reason I am writing this specific article is because I am puzzled by what I see in the Christian community today. Believers that have been confessing Christ for many years are ineffective in leading lives that are pleasing to God. I routinely hear believers speaking and laughing about the same things the world speaks and laughs about. Someone is probably saying, loosen up Michael you’re being “holier than thou”. It is not my intent to act as if my Christian walk has been perfect because it hasn’t. My point is that God through the death, burial and resurrection of His son, Jesus has prescribed a special way for us to live and He is not pleased with us if we live a life contrary to what He has planned.
Powerful in the pew
If you were a first time visitor from a foreign land and walked into the praise and worship services of most Pentecostal, Charismatic or Baptist churches you would be in complete awe. Within the walls of these churches the worshipers are crying, singing and praising God just as He prescribes, all through the scriptures. Hymns echo the fact that God is mighty, faithful, glorious, wonderful, and omniscient and worthy of praise. So if you are exposed to this sight for the first time you would leave believing that everyone in that service has total faith and confidence in God. Sunday after Sunday I attend church and during the service God does make His presence known and we take great joy in that. We make declarations of triumph and victory as we should because God through Christ and promised it for us. Within the confines of the church no foe can withstand us, no task is too difficult and we are truly the overcomers Christ created us to be. Within the church walls we are kind, considerate and thoughtful just as Jesus asks us to be. When I think about how confident I am in church it’s amazing. I believe if Superman tried to oppose me while I was in church he would be in serious trouble. It’s of course easy for me to say this because Superman will never show up; likewise I do believe it’s easy for us to demonstrate all of our godliness in church because when we are amongst brothers and sisters in Christ we have no opposition to our faith. You see saints, it’s great that we hear the sermons and get the knowledge while we are in church but the true test of our faith is when we get up from the pew and walk out of those church doors.
Powerless in the world
Many believers are pepped up and all powerful on Sunday, but are shaken and fearful like Superman running from kryptanite on Monday. It’s easy to talk about how awesome God is in church; it seems to be something quite different to even mention His name outside of church. The average believer has never witnessed for Christ, given their testimony or asked a friend to come to church. Where did the power the believer had on Sunday, go on Monday? I say it went no place, the power remains there in the heart of the believer unapplied because many Christians continue to give allegiance to world’s system when challenged by it. Mark 4:19 says, the cares of the world, deceitfulness of riches and lust for other things choke the word and it becomes unfruitful. I believe this to be a very candid and direct truth from the Lord. How are we going to demonstrate lordship over the world when our hearts are lusting for its delicacies? The scripture tells us why the sermons we hear are unfruitful, it’s because we don’t want our appeal for the things of this world to go away. Hebrews 12:1 admonishes Christians to lay down everything in this world that would hinder their ability to please the Lord. The affections we have for the world are equivalent to Superman’s kryptanite. As long as we have affections for the world we will be powerless against it.
Spiritual Power or Church Social Hour
I mentioned previously how we as people tend to allow our lives to be directed by programmed habits. It appears to me that a huge segment of Christians have allowed their walk of faith to become a crawling routine. Instead of being excited about the things of God many are concerned with what excitement they can draw from the world. It is terrible to think that Jesus gave His life so that we could experience life in abundance and many of us are falling far short of abundant living. The question is why? Why are so many believers ineffective in the plans of God? One reason is that many pastors are not ministering the whole truth of God’s word. They are giving Christians diluted messages, which makes that messages unfruitful. God promised in Jeremiah that He would give Israel teachers and pastors after His own heart. Another reason many are ineffective for the cause of Christ is that they simply want to live this life according to their own plans and dictates. Totally discounting Proverbs 3:5-7 which says, “ Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil”. Some are ineffective because they never had intentions for serving Christ, but only became Christians because of the notoriety being a believer brings, not knowing that God holds them accountable for the things they have heard. Still, other believers according to Mark chapter four are ineffective because the cares of the world and love of money is more important than living a life pleasing to God. And many more go to church to show off their new clothes, cars, jewelry etc…. It is very unfortunate that the creator of heaven and earth receives little less than a couple hours a week from many of those He has saved. The routine of going to church on Sunday has simply become a national past time, like baseball.
In this I can’t wait, I want it now society, God’s method of operating is not welcomed, even in the church. Because God is the author of our lives He demands the right to dictate how we should live and this aggravates us as believers. Although 1 John clearly says Gods commands are not grievous but easily entreated and without partiality, many still say it’s impossible to live the Christian life. I could agree with the Christian’s life being difficult if I was the one responsible for living it out, but I ‘m not, Jesus is responsible for living His life through me. (Gal. 2:20) So, instead of going to church expecting to hear from God many are treating the day at Church as any other time consuming event. I believe it’s great to have wonderful singers, marvelous dramas and skits, but none of that should ever supersede the preaching and teaching of God’s word. One day while sitting in my car listening to this old gospel station I heard a song that said, “we don’t care whose preaching or whose singing we are just having Church”, now it may seem like I’m being picky, but the whole reason for this article is because I recognize a large majority of the Christians in our communities are ignorant in regards to the things of God. I have a perfect word from God that substantiates my point. Observe what God says to Ezekiel about the Israelites in chapter 33:30-32, ”But as for you, son of man, your fellow citizens who talk about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, speak to one another, each to his brother, saying, ‘Come now and hear what the message is which comes forth from the LORD.’ ” They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. ”Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.
God is so awesome. He clearly shows us a picture of how the lives of many present day believers parallel the lives of the children of Israel. People want to go to church hear the message and say that was a good word and literally have no intention of applying it to their lives. Yet, when a tragedy or severe trial arises they immediately begin to question what kind of God they serve. And still there are some that come simply to admire how eloquently the pastor delivers his message as if he was a part of an opera or something. It’s so difficult for me to understand how a believer that demonstrates no trust in God could ever complain. Galatians clearly states you reap what you sow. Why would you live totally contrary to what God’s word says and then expect a blessing? We as believers need to stop patterning our lives like the world and then we won’t get the worlds results. Just going to church is not enough we need to be going for a purpose and that purpose should be to get wisdom, knowledge, spiritual understanding from God’s word. I pray God finds you sincerely trusting Him. Amen.