- Religion and Philosophy
Christian Truth, Not A Popular Thing, But Please Consider
This was not a "fun" one to write, anything but, actually. were in a time and society when so many claim Christianity of some sort, and were also at a time of "tolerence" being ever so (seemingly) important. You see many "churches" growing like wildfire and hear great messages of love, mercy, grace & salvation, yet, they are often a sadly diluted message made to be more "palatable" in this "tolerant" world. Many of these Churches are now celebrity driven by popular Pastors and are based heavily on what Christ can do for you - oh yeah, and "be nice to your fellow man".
For those of you that may be new to my writings please allow me to give a quick backdrop, I've believed by instinct as long as I can remember, I've believed by Faith since giving my life to Christ in '92. Lately though that logical part of my mind has battled with some of the challenges brought to me by others, many of whom couldn't get their heads around "I just know" as an answer. Well, as of some more recent study I've now been able to lay the logical part of mine to rest in the full & sure Faith of Christ as well.
All of that said, here are some of the conclusions that I've come to, some may seem like a no-brainer, but if I'm addressing it here, that means someone I've spoken to along the way "ain't gettin it". One thing for sure is this Christianity isn't about "you" and what Christ can do for you, perhaps when you first come to Him in whatever state your in (often broken down and hurting) He is there to rebuild and reestablish you, but that should go fairly quickly, then your called to action. Christianity isn't a works based Religion or salvation, Salvation is established in Faith, however Faith without works is dead.
If you look at the very existence of Jesus, it wasn't one of being "hip or cool" so the whole "showier the better" isn't what it's about either. God certainly does bless people, but I think if you study you'll find that it's not typically with brand name material items. The whole premise of the prosperity gospel is so off base it's ridiculous. The sure fact that "our treasures are in Heaven" should clue us in on that one. Why would God want us to "have it all" on earth, when Heaven is where our treasure is. Now I'm not saying that God doesn't allow some to have an abundance to bless others with, but the "where your treasure is, their your heart will be also" really comes into play here.
Dolce & Gabana, Louis Vitton & Lexus aside, the vanity thats taking place within "the Church" today also has got to be of great concern, the desire and attempts to be "hip, chic & cool" by the worlds standards have got to be an absolute stab at the heart of God in Christ. Since when did the message of Jesus & His disciples come to be "in" fashion & style? They were purposely of meager means. I realize many feel that if we look & act like "the world" they'll be more accepting of us and will be more willing to come to us, but when we become "like the world" we've actually become like them. We are supposed to set ourselves apart, to be noticeably different. I've seen Churches where the manner of dress on some of the females in attendance were in line with a nightclub, a scantily clad night club at that.
Before I go to far please allow me to acknowledge that I too have suffered from many of the afflictions that I'm addressing here in this writing, I'm not writing out of condemnation or judgement. Everything I'm sharing here, and through my writings has just been my experience, on my journey with God in Christ. I'm not saying that you have to agree with me by any means, I'd encourage you to Pray about it and see where God speaks to your heart, to quote a buddy of mines favorite little saying -"Stand for something, or fall for anything/everything."
We are called to put Christ first and foremost in our lives, every minute of every day, I'm here to tell you that I personally have fallen short on this myself many times. There have been some days when if I were honest, by the end of the day I'd have been lucky if God in Christ made the Top 10, I've often allowed myself to be distracted by the many doings of the world. Even our families are to come second to Christ, yet, when our families are loaded with activities and doings where does it all fit in, where does God fit in. Do we devote at leat an hour a day to God in Prayer and Bible reading? Or are our schedules to busy for that? For most people, the thought of finding an hour a day is incomprehensible, yet we find it for television & computer likely everyday.
When we aren't fully connected to God in Christ how are we able to stand for what we believe, where is the strength and knowledge? I offer the utmost Grace to others and their beliefs, it's been seen as "not standing for what I believe", although it's never been intended that way, I recognize the freedoms that we have within the USA and within our Walk with God. At the same time I've put forth Grace, I've also never budged on what the Bible says as being fact, and this my friends is the area that has become far to "springy". The Truth, is the truth, it's not suggestions or parameters, if you do not believe the Bible as the indisputable Word of God, that God created all, that God sent Christ to die on the Cross for our sins and that Salvation in Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, then it is my belief that you have not fully accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.
Please notice that I didn't give you all sorts of verses and scripture to "back up my statement". there was a very good reason for that, if you aren't wanting to believe me, you won't, no matter how much space I take up. Read the Bible, study the Bible, Pray to God in Christ and do the research that will verify it all and validate it all to you, thats the only way I feel you'll believe, IF your Faith alone has failed you. Why are there so many out there who accept a known watered down version of Christianity? Thats the easiest question in the world to answer, those that profess it want to be liked and or popular and whats better than telling people that they can possess the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, AND live and believe how they want.
Yes, the world is a very different place than it was thousands of years ago, but God hasn't changed, ever! Also, if you really read the Bible in depth, the world is not nearly as different as you may think. Sure, technology wise we've come a ways, yet, without modern machinery we still couldn't build many of the things that were built thousands of years ago without todays "technology", so are we any smarter? Do you really in your heart of hearts by into what you believe? Do you really think that God has changed the laws or the terms? Do you really think that God loves you so much that he wants you drapped in designer labels driving a Rolls Royce, even though His own Son Jesus Christ wore a standard robe and rode to town on a donkey?
Maybe I'm wrong, I don't believe I am, but you have the right and are entitled to believe whatever you want. I'm gonna stick to my guns on this one though, I think "the Church" as a whole has gotten to far away from Truth. However, this is the last time I'm using "The Church" as a reference, because it's not about "The Church" as a whole. There are many parts of the body out there taking the unpopular stand for what is true and right and yet all the false prophets, teachers & proclaimers get the "press". The Truth is within you, the individual believer, it doesn't matter on judgement day what your excuse is for being "wrong", God asks YOU, to answer to Him, for You! If you choose to lamely listen to a false prophet, you still chose it. Your salvation is up to you through Prayer, Petition & Study, there are no bail-outs or blame shifting in Heaven.
At the same time those false teachers will answer for their actions, they will answer for misleading people, but it's still up to you to be right with God. This world we live in is so polluted with lame excuses and people not wanting to accept any responsibility for their own foolish mistakes and misdeeds, and that attitude has begun to heavily permeate the body of Christ. Take account of your own shortcomings, daily, answer the call of God in Christ upon your life, daily. Yet always remember, we are not the Judge, there are times in scripture that we may need to call a brother or sister in the Lord to account, but we are called to serve the lost, not judge them.
In closing, I didn't write this to confront, instigate or judge, once again, this is the walk I'm on, I'm sharing it with you. I post this for you to consider, you make your own choices and decisions, you set up the life that you will answer to God for. My Prayer is that I die ever more to self every single day, that I become an ambassador for Christ more and more every single day, that I have a heart for the needs of others before my self every single day and that I can make Christ First and foremost in my life, above and beyond all other options, every single day!
Christianity is love and acceptance, but it's also obedience and Truth, it's often not "comfortable", it's often not "popular" and it's often not "cool". Jesus Christ wasn't any of those things in the eyes of the "world", if He was He wouldn't have been killed. Please take the time to discover the Truth about Jesus Christ and God the Heavenly Father & Creator of All the Universe, don't allow yourself to be desueded by "popular & comfortable" teachings, if you want God to take the time for you, will you take the time for Him?
In Christ Jesus Name