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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