As a little boy I often road my bike to church, because my mom wasn’t much of church goer. Christmas, Easter, weddings and funerals were about the extent of her church involvement. But living in a small town meant I could hop on my bike and peddle four blocks down the road to Saint Thomas Moore. Even though I went on my own initiative, I remember how boring it was to go to church… not only were the messages so terribly un-heartfelt, they seemed so irrelevant.
When I answered the call of God on my life to go into full-time ministry twenty-seven years ago, I purposed to make every sermon heartfelt and relevant. My motto has been, “Preach on Sunday what can be practically applied to all of life come Monday, Tuesday…”. While I still hold to this motto, I am sober to the fact that I do not want to feed into the error of Consumer Christianity.
The world views Christianity, and other religions, as useful depending on what social, psychological, physical, and financial benefits it may bring. The world doesn’t weigh Christianity in the terms of true or false, but by whether or not it is useful or harmful. I like to call this Consumer Christianity. The Apostle John warns us to not love the world or the things that belong to the world (1Jn 2:15). You see, the devil is forever trying to get you and I to buy into this world so that we will never enter into the next one God has prepared for us (1 Cor 2:9). The devil wants you to be a slave and worship this world so that you will never rule alongside Christ in the one that is to come. This is why Paul said, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col 3:2)
Hear me today – while Satan can promise you the world, God is only one who can give you the best of both worlds. Some may really think they are living it up here and now, but the truth is they are dying. They have money, but their marriage is a wreck. They drive nice cars, live in nice houses, eat well and have lots of FaceBook friends, but they are lonely and lack peace. They may be as healthy and strong as an ox, but they are scrawny in faith.
The Prosperity Gospel has done a lot of good, but just like anything else, its excess has hindered the faith of many God loving and fearing saints — leaving them weighed down with condemnation. So now, if they are not rolling in the dough, the accusation is that they are in sin. If they are not at the pentacle of success, something must be wrong with them and they are missing God. If their children have gone astray, it’s because they did something wrong. If they are suffering, it’s because of their own life choices and they haven’t walked in wisdom. But the fullness of the gospel says this isn’t so. God causes it to rain on the just as well as the unjust. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma destroyed the lives of God-fearing families as well those without any regard for the things of God. The hope for God-seekers is that even in the midst or aftermath of the storm, they know that God is the only one who can give you the best of both worlds. He is able to help them rebuild in this life as He continues to prepare a place for them in the next. This is the reward for “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)
Mark 10:28 — 28Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
LET’S REMOVE THE WEIGHT OF CONDEMNATION
Romans 8:1 — There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
If you are feeling the weight of condemnation, God wants to see you set free today. All suffering is not because of your own life choices. It is not God’s indictment on your life. Just because you may not be healthy, wealthy, or successful in the eyes of this world right now, doesn’t mean that you are not God’s champion of faith.
I thank you that you have not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. I thank you that there is no condemnation to those which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the the Spirit. As I fix my eyes on things above and seek first your Kingdom and righteousness, remove all false accusation that is weighing my soul down with feelings of guilt, failure, and shame. Set my feet upon a rock and make my footsteps firm. Put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God so that many will see and fear, and will trust in the LORD. Amen.