"The single greatest cause of atheism today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." -Brennan Manning
This is a very familiar and used quote. I got it from the intro to 'What if I stumble' by DC Talk. It is a simple and very evident truth to everyone but Christians apparently. Though much could be said about the dual lifestyle that many "Christians" live, I don't want to talk about the good and the evil that is there. I want to talk about the good and the good that isn't there.
Let me start with this: I 100% believe the Bible and all the miracles there-in. I absolutely believe in Jesus and all that He did and have no qualms in my spirit. I believe in everything Jesus did. It makes sense to me. But when I look around at the Christians today trying to be like Jesus it just looks like a joke. When Jesus launched His ministry, and ever as far back as when He was twelve years old, everyone knew there was something different about the way He lived and taught. They said He taught as one with authority. Everyone is familiar with this concept. If a 6ft. 6in. 250lb man stepped into a crowd, drew a line, and told no one to cross it there wouldn't be a lot of takers on that challenge because he has the obvious authority to back up his implied threat. If a 5ft. 6in 140lb man did the same he would have to jump up and down screaming at the top of his lungs, red faces, drool running down his chin, blood shot eyes with a general look of crazy mixed in there to get even a remotely similar reaction as the larger man. Many in the Church are the second man. Jesus is the first.
The word for all this is hype. To over do everything to make people believe you've got more going on than is the case. When I first moved to Arkansas eight years ago I attended an Apostolic Pentecostal chruch. They believed that speaking in tongues was a sign of salvation and then reverse interprited that to mean that if you didn't speak in tongues you weren't saved. They 'took authority' over demons and diseases. They prayed blessings over people affairs and travels all to no avail. The poor youth of this chuch were so desperate to not go to hell they would shout out nonsense and play all the games the Church taught them just to prove they had Jesus. And if you asked them I'm sure they would have swarn that the Holy Spirit made them do it but you could see a look of guilt and fear in all of their eyes.
Why pray for everyone to be healed, rich, and popular? It may not be what God wants and you give people a false sense of hope and who and what God is by doing so. There is harm in it. I was at IHOP(International House of Prayer) this last Sunday and was getting over a sinus infection that had caused me to lose my voice. The people sitting next to us took it upon themselves to pray that God heal me and restore my voice. I didn't have the heart to turn them down, maybe I should have. God very well could have been the one to cause me to lose my voice. I am rather outspoken and have stepped out of line on occation. Maybe God just wanted me to be silent for a weekend. Maybe it was just a bug, who knows? But this I do know: I trust God to take care of me and lead me where I should go because no matter what I do I am not strong enough or wise enough to even know what is good for me, much less what His will is. So anything that happens to me, good or bad, is His will.
Jesus said you know a tree by it's fruit. An obvious sign of true believers throughout history and the Bible is miracles and answered prayer. We all want to believe that God hears us and that we are approved in His eyes. But we are so prideful and full of self-love that we can't see the obvious conclusion that our lives present: We are not what God wants. We are not only signing our own condemnation by sitting in willful blindness, but are destroying the faith of the non and new believers around us. When we preach messages on prosperity, protection, security, and peace we are pledging something we cannot deliever and making fools of ourselves in the process.
First of all, God not only will allow you to suffer, He means for you to. Dispite what psycologists of our day would say, children need physical, painful punishments. It is how God has always dealt with His people. It wasn't because of first covenate, second covenate business. The blood of Christ has nothing to do with God trying to get your attnetion because of your on-going sins. God has struck people with disease, disaster, ruin and death in response to their actions all the way back to Adam and Eve. Suffering builds character. Say, just as Job did, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Second, it comes with a reward, Earthly and Heavenly. God knows everyday before it begins. He has planned this all out from the beginning. If you trust in Him, be thankful for all that comes your way. You have no idea where it could lead and what good will become of it in the end. The trials and fire of life bring purity. It is only though intense and sustained heat that gold can be melted so that the dross with rise to the surface and can be removed. If you are a going through a trial, it might be because of something you did. But, it might not. For all we can tell Job didn't do anything wrong to deserve what he got. Actually, God said he was the best of the best, no one else like him. So why did God do that to him? Because all though Job wasn't defunkt, he was incomplete. The Lord used it to build something in Job.
I am so sick of hearing testamonials about how God took away people's ingrown toe nails. "We prayed over it and BOOM. Two weeks later it was all better. Amazing!" I can't tell you how many prayers or 'healing' services I have witnessed with people praying over every kind of affliction and sorrow with zero results. The miracle isn't in how God micromanages our lives. The miracle is in how He will erradicate evil in and around us without erradicating us.
Please, Please! Stop pretending like you have a direct link to the Holy Spirit's stock pile of power. You don't. Trust in God. All things come from His hand. Petition the Lord with your cares and concerns. But when He gives, be thankful. And when He doesn't, be thankful. Stop spiritually jumping up in down in the chruches trying to convince everyone you are powerful just so that you can stroke your own ego.
Feel free to comment or ask questions!
Feel free to comment or ask questions!