The American Church – 2/2

When you die to yourself you have no desire for earthly riches because you know and understand your dispensing of your blessings to others (e.g., the less fortunate) is granting you more and more eternal blessings in heaven. When you die to yourself you take larger steps of faith and step out of your comfort zone because you understand that God operates by the measure of faith that we set forth and that there is no purpose for a Comforter when you are always comfortable. When you die to yourself you take the Word of God literally no matter how “radical” or “crazy” it sounds because the things of God are foolishness to men. When you die to yourself you begin to drop everything and desire for His will to be done than any plans in your own life because you realize that all of this is simply NOT ABOUT YOU!!

The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

And in Matthew 6:19-21,  “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust do corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust do corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

And in 1 Timothy 6:7, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 

And finally in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Christians have it BACKWARDS! Some seek to establish the things of this world without putting seeking the kingdom of heaven first! Some are overly concerned with the riches and treasures to store up here on earth rather than doing the same for heaven! And some are so concerned with gaining the whole world without taking much deep thought about securing their soul! LITERALLY, BACKWARDS!

Matthew 16:25 says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Let me use the understandings I have come to that have informed my life practices as an example. I don’t make much money, but I give much away without over managing my account balance because I have faith God will provided everything I need and additional funds to continue to give. Also, I don’t limit or constrain myself to a specific tithe. I simply GIVE!

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 says, “Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

I don’t make mindless want driven purchases because I’m content with the necessities God provides me with.

Hebrews 13:4 says,  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

I’ll use a specific example of my spending habits in reference to a subject a lot of people, and myself before as well, suffer from: materialism. I buy clothes at goodwill or thrift stores and the last pair of shoes I purchased cost me $10. For a young Black man in his early twenties this is socially unacceptable. According to social standards, I MUST purchases shoes for $150+ and buy clothes that are considered “high fashion” IF I want to fit in. Though the peer pressure of “fitting in” is an intense nearly unparalleled force, I’m glad that there is an IF, which makes that a conditional statement. In other words, once one gets over pleasing others they can enjoy theliberty that is afforded to them in Christ. Some might think I’m cheap but I like to call it beingprudently frugal. A lot of my brothers and sisters in Christ have taken on this same mindset. This section is not to boast or to talk myself up (or down, rather), I’m just showing how some believers from this generation are getting it and really living this life like the Bible encourages! I understand “everybody” likes nice things and I’m not condemning the Christian that likes nice things. But we should be cautious, and check our intentions regarding the purchases we make. Could forgoing that expensive item and choosing a less expense alternative give me the chance to use the difference to give to the less fortunate, help a struggling family member, allocate it to a more pressing financial need? Hmm… something to think about…

My next question is: Why do people tell others when they want to get saved to pick a church and attend? Why is that the FIRST suggestion? Why not say get on your knees, repent, cry to our Father, seek His face, and get baptized?

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

God wants YOU, not the façade you put on in church. I’m not at all bashing the attendance of church – it is a healthy environment and facilitates fellowship which the Bible tells us not to forsake. I’m just challenging its prioritization in the eyes of believers (and don’t let me start on the division that denominations perpetuate, which is counterintuitive seeing that Paul, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, repeatedly spoke against this…..but I digress….). We ARE the church, do not discount your ALONE time with God and that’s exactly what I believe most people lack, a deep, loving, intimate, passionate, personal relationship with God. God wants you to know Him; Christ wants you to be intimate with Him! Simply going to church Saturday or Sunday then going home and being the same person you were during the whole week isn’t going to cut it. Brothers and sisters it’s time to wake up! READ, FAST, PRAISE, WORSHIP, PRAY, and FELLOWSHIP; we cannot neglect not even one of these! They are our spiritual lifeline! Before I end this post, I want to ask you one final question: What is your religion (something you are scrupulously faithful to do), simply going to church or following Christ? Hopefully you see by now that yes there is a difference.

Dante Paul Myers

 

Missed the last section? Read it here: The American Church – 1/2

Also, check out “The Letter to a Lost Nation” series starting here.

 

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The American Church – 1/2

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:14-19)

Let me begin by saying I love the church. As believers in Jesus Christ we, as the body of Christ, are in fact the church. So my intent is not for this blog post to come off like an attack against the church but I rather it be received as an admonishment to the church. Americans’ conceptualization of “church” is extremely distorted! Although I would be considered as “young” in my walk, I have witnessed various different operations of different churches and understand the dealings of the generation before this generation. Consequently, the errors of the generations passed have trickled down and are affecting this current generation. The difference I have seen in us, that is, this generation, however, is more and more “young” believers desire to shake the whole concept of church at its core and get back to being the early church described of in Acts! So I will be making a series of points that stem from what the Holy Spirit has allowed me to discern about the present state of the church thus far.

First, if you think simply going to church is your way to salvation, you’ve missed it! God is so much bigger than your halfhearted attendance at a church service on the weekend. We have discussed two references to “churches” so far. The first being the body of Christ being called “the church” and now the physical place that is referred to as “church”. Let me reiterate, SIMPLY GOING TO CHURCH IS NOT YOUR TICKET TO HEAVEN. Just because you follow the doctrine of your church, you think you’re a good person, and you try not to say bad words DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE GOING TO HEAVEN. We need to break past this deception! So many times I see people look up on themselves and down on others because they have such an over reliance in their church, but then if you examine their lives they don’t even KNOW God for themselves. They may attend a service on the weekend and a Bible study during the week, but the rest of the week is “their time” where there is just scattered prayer some days and minor scripture reading sprinkled in as well. What kind of relationship is that? You think that attending church and Bible study is making God happy, when in actuality your intent in going renders what you’re doing as a “work.” Really, the desire to fellowship with other believers should stem from your extreme love for God and a desire to be in His presence EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Imagine if a wife or a husband only saw their spouse for two days during the week. One day on the weekend and one day during the week. Furthermore, they barely speak the other days that they don’t see each other. What kind of relationship is that? It’s not hard to assume that either one of them may feel lonely and will begin to look elsewhere for attention (especially with the type of society we live in today). This marriage would burst at the seams. The Bible says the church (body of Christ) is Christ’s bride and He is the husband. This is the same picture! A marriage wherein one spouse doesn’t desire and doesn’t long to spend time with, talk to, and be intimate with their spouse is a marriage that simply WILL NOT STAND.

Why are some from this generation of believers getting it, but most of the one’s behind us are still in the dark? We are picking up our Bibles and reading, and what we see in today’s church is nothing but corruption, compromise, and chaos. God is calling us to break past these traditions and commandments of men, trim all the excess fat, and come to a place where we want ALL of Him. Not just a little bit here and there.

Truly the Bible says in Matthew 15:8,9 “This people draws near unto me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

The Bible also says in Matthew 7:21-23,  “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

It would also benefit you to read Matthew 25:1-13 of the Ten Virgins, five of which were wise and five of which were foolish. Study those scriptures and completely understand why the five were considered foolish.

Again, this generation is starting to pick up their Bibles and is actually reading! There should be no reason for me to ask the following questions that relate to situations I have personally experienced. Why is it that when I give to the homeless and have no desire to be rich or wealthy here on earth, “Christians” counsel me otherwise? Why is it that when I get uncomfortable and take a step of faith, “Christians” counsel me otherwise? Why am I told don’t drop everything and live for God? Ask yourself this, when you read, do you read just for a feel good story or do you take the Bible literally and do what it says! None of the previous questions would come up if we did one thing that the Bible so vehemently teaches, to DIE TO OURSELVES!

Read the next section here: The American Church – 2/2