How many times have you heard the phrase, “That’s my truth” or “Well, I believe…” and cringed?
How often do those words feel off,
somehow, but you don’t know how to articulate why?
The church is in trouble, friend. There are so many false gospels, weak Jesuses, and works-based religion disguised as Christianity infiltrating the church that we hardly recognize it any more.
Or do we? Maybe we do recognize truth, but choose to ignore it.
Around the world, in countries where
believers are persecuted and imprisoned or killed for merely owning a
Bible or sharing Jesus with a friend, the church is thriving and
growing at an exponential rate. But here in the US?
Boy, we have it too good.
We are so comfortable in our freedom
and luxury that we have time to sit around and think of new ways to
jack things up. We have watered down, tainted and twisted the words
of the Bible so much that, unless you are a committed student of the
Bible and understand what is at stake, church has become
irrelevant…nothing more than a club of people who like the idea
that Jesus loves them and want to do nice stuff to make others feel
good so that it makes their version of Jesus look good.
But their version of Jesus is not
We have lost our first love. We have allowed ourselves to be so distracted by what others think of us and how we practice our faith that we have begun to incorporate the practices of religions that are abominations to God, practices that were expressly forbidden, and cloaked them in a “Christian” robe to make them palatable.
It’s like putting a tiny bit of poop in
a pan of brownies, all fun and games until you realize what you have
Spit it out. Spit the whole thing out. Go back to the basics of who God is, who Jesus is and who the Holy Spirit is. We need them. All of them. Without one of them we do not have all of God. He has told us how He wants to be worshiped. We must stop adding to what He has given us! God is simple in his expectations, we are the ones who make things complicated!
In 1 Samuel 15, Saul was given clear
instructions by God to destroy the Amalekites. When God said destroy,
he meant it. He wanted there to be nothing left…complete
Saul went to work, but began to tweak
What could be wrong with capturing the
king and making him suffer a little? And what about those fat, robust
cattle and sheep? Wouldn’t those be great to use as an
offering…sure would be a good reminder to God and the people of all
that Saul and his men had accomplished, right? There were a lot of
nice things among the Amalekite possessions and it would seem
wasteful to destroy all of them.
But God had said they were to destroy everything and everyone, to completely wipe the Amalekites from the face of the earth. He knew what would happen down the road if even a remnant was left to survive…trouble that would resurface time and again. Samuel did most of what God asked, but did not follow completely through and God’s response is very telling. In verse 10 he actually says he regretted making Saul king because Saul had turned away from him and not carried out his instructions.
But wait, hadn’t
Saul done most of it?
Sure, but most
is not what God had asked for. He wanted ALL of it.
confronted Saul about his neglect, Saul was defensive. “But I did
obey the Lord!” he answered in verse 20. “The troops took sheep
and cattle from the plunder-the best of what was set apart for
destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
Then in verse 22 Samuel said to Saul,
“Does the Lord
take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying
the Lord? Look, to obey is better than sacrifice. To pay attention is
better than the fat of rams.”
Then Samuel said,
“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like
wickedness and idolatry.”
Let that sit and
stew for a while.
Not following through with the complete instructions God had given him was like Saul trying to write his own ending to the story. His defiance and determination to shape things to his liking was wicked and idolatrous…a type of self-worship.
Isn’t that what is happening in the church today? We play with “new” ideas, like mindfulness and meditation, hoping it brings us closer to God. But we are told to take every thought captive (never to empty our mind) and we are told to meditate on scripture, not try to achieve some ethereal state. We even take God’s command to love one another and turn it into accepting the hedonistic lifestyles that have filled our streets and computer screens, going so far as to call them holy and acceptable to God when practiced within the (arbitrary) boundaries of the (new and improved) church. Love brings in the sinner, yes, but it never stands by and endorses what will surely bring death and destruction to the very people we have been called to reach. Satan’s first lie was “Did God really say?” and, today, many Christians still march to the beat of that drum. We don’t like being told “no”, “wait”, or “not like that”. We want our way and we will twist whatever Bible verses necessary to get it. But we are only going to be successful under the sun for a little while for when we stray from what we have been clearly instructed to do we are inviting the enemy of our souls to come on in and have a seat whether we like it or not.
I don’t know about
you, but I don’t want the devil any where near me.
Now we can say,
“Well, for me it’s different”, “That isn’t my truth”,
or “It’s just who I am” but it really doesn’t matter. God’s truth
is the only truth. Who God says you are is who you are. Truth
is true whether we believe it or not. Seeking an experience
or identity outside of the umbrella of the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit then trying to Christianize it is dangerous and leading
countless people (including Christians who have been believers for
decades!) down a path of New Age Spirituality, Eastern Mysticism,
Progressive Christianity and even to Agnosticism and Atheism! We have
everything we need in the Bible. God has been crystal clear and we
must stay laser focused on Him and the calling He has placed on our
You might think
this is legalism, but that is not what is happening here. God wants
obedience from his children. We would be wise to take him seriously
and love our brothers and sisters enough to encourage them to do the
same. Loving as God loves means we will have to stand for truth. It
means we will not be popular and likely accused of being a “Jesus
freak” or judgemental. But God’s love never fails. It is the
only one that can change hearts and lives and the only love that can
save and secure a soul for all of eternity through Jesus’ death,
burial and resurrection!
Truth is true, whether we believe it or not.