Do you ever wonder why it seems the church has become cold, indifferent, and callused to what is right and wrong? Why has our “light” seemed to become dimmer in this dark world? I was recently challenged by a message from Jerry Benjamin, and as I listened, I asked God to forgive me for not loving Him as I should.
I’m certain many of you have heard wonderful, power-packed messages from the pulpit of your church. You’ve been given tools to become a stronger Christian, a better spouse, and a more loving parent. But, in all honesty, the church may actually be hindering your walk with God. Yes, I really did just say that!
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying you should stop going to church. Christian community and fellowship is vital to a person’s walk with Christ. But in many ways, our churches today have broadened this idea of a smorgasbord of truth. We often think we can pick which principles from the Bible we wish to uphold and which principles we simply ignore. Then we pick a church that has chosen similar truths that we’ve picked. This is where denominations come into play and segregate even more. And, although I’m not against denominations per se, I can see where this mindset has been misleading.
What is the key element in the life of a Believer? We can become so consumed by nuances that we neglect the core issues. So what really distinguishes you from someone who isn’t following God? Think about it. Is it that you are regularly attending church? Is it that you obey God, and are passing your faith on to others? Is it that you’re teaching your children to obey God, or that you’re involved in ministry?
Sorry, but all those things does not indicate you are following God. Not even obedience meets that bar.
The Church in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-19) was probably doing all the things I listed out. They were probably obedient. They were probably instructing their children in the ways of God. They were probably meeting together regularly–but they were nauseating to God, and He was ready to spit them out of His mouth. My friend, each of us can become so familiar with the truth of God’s word, that we neglect the truth of God’s word.
Let me ask you…What does the Lord require from each of us? What is He after?
In Luke 10:27, Jesus says, “…You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Here Jesus is summarizing the entire Word of God. He is summarizing what He requires from each of us. To love Him.
You may say, “How do I know if I truly love God?” Well think about it. How do you know if you love your husband or wife? If I spend time with my husband out of duty because I know it’s the right thing to do, is this love? No, it’s not. But how often do we do spend time with God out of duty? Am I in love with Him when I don’t anticipate time spent with Him?
For those of you who are parents, are we teaching our children the importance of obeying God, or showing them how to love God? Is the church showing us how to love God or is it teaching us to value the principles more than the Principle Maker?
It is always by an act of our own will, that we choose not to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We choose to love our sin more than we love our Savior. It’s only when we become broken before God, that we can love Him more than we love ourselves. Each of us have been guilty of casually strolling along our Christian walk, fooled into thinking we are living for the Lord. When in reality, there’s no true love in our hearts for our Savior.
We are driven by the desire to find a few more tools that can help us in our Christian walk and the church is driven to provide them. Yet, we are missing the mark. Providing all the right information doesn’t produce right choices. Listing the dangers of smoking on a pack of cigarettes doesn’t usually stop people from smoking.
It’s easy to start loving information more than we love Jesus. We begin focusing on revival rather than on the Revivor. We are busy teaching great principles, but we’ve halted loving the Principle One. We want God’s miracles, but quit spending time with the Miracle Maker.
We don’t need to be looking for things to do for God. He wants us to simply want to be WITH Him. God wants to be the topic of our conversations in our homes and in our churches. Let’s be talking about the Bless-or and not our blessings, the Reward-or and not just the rewards.
Why don’t we love God? Because we choose not to. We can be laboring for the Lord, without loving Him. We can be active in the church, daily reading His word, active in full time ministry and still not truly be loving the Lord. We can be doing each of these things out of duty rather than out of love. Laboring rather than loving.
The foundation with Jesus must be because of our love for Him. If we don’t truly love Jesus, than everything we can ever do will always be completely worthless. Empty. There is absolutely no value in doing any of the good things we are doing. (Read 1 Corinthians 13 to see how important our love is.)
Who is Jesus to you? Do you love Jesus because of His gifts? Or is He your All; your One and Only? Is He predominant in your life?
God wants our hearts. Our lives. Our lips may speak one thing, but what do our hearts and lives demonstrate?
Even something as vital and important as our churches can be damaging to our spiritual lives if they cause us to believe that we need more principle or more knowledge. What we really need is to LOVE Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)