ARE YOU SHOPPING AROUND?
In a discussion with someone this week I told him/her that we had been missing them, and this person said, “Well, I’m shopping around.” I thought a lot about that statement throughout the rest of the day, and it bothered me; yet also made me think about how many others are “shopping around.”
Ofttimes when we “shop around,” we are not happy with a product or a price. We are dissatisfied and want something better or nicer. We shop around for “good restaurants” or grocery stores (for an item we want at a “cheaper price”), or the specific clothing that will make us “happy.” Lately we shop around for cheaper gas because we don’t want to pay more than we think we should. We shop around when we are looking for something specific, or a good place to buy some quality items, or find a cheaper price for the item for which we look. Do we think we can find “Christianity” at a cheaper cost than giving God our lives and souls in his service? How many Christians come to worship God out of duty, not joy? If Jesus gave his life for us, then, should we not reciprocate by giving ourselves and our desires up so that we can please him? Consider as well those who come to be entertained, or to “feel better about themselves” and the life they are living, even though that life may be a life of sin.
The focus is on us! We are focused on what we want, or how much we are willing to pay . . .
The “bottom line” it that it is all about me and my wants, my desires or something that will help me find what I am looking for. YET, what are we really looking for? Will things of this world bring happiness if we have enough of them? What will happen when we pass on? Someone else will have to go through it and throw it away.
I believe that some look for a church where they can be inspired and encouraged, where they find something that suits what they want, not necessarily what God wants. I am convinced that when we worship God the way he intends, we should “feel” inspired because we have HONORED HIM!
Yet, many go to “churches” that have praise bands, a preacher that is more “motivational” than honest about sin and its consequences, and we walk out feeling good that we have worshipped God. The focus has been on us feeling better about ourselves, NOT dealing with the sin that causes us to be dissatisfied and unhappy.
Many in Jesus’ day would come and hear the preaching of Jesus and were amazed at his teaching. In Mark 1:21-22 we read, “And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (ESV). Yet, despite the astonishment, they would soon seek his death, because what he said was not what they wished to hear. Indeed, as we examine the New Testament, we see that when truth was preached, many would walk away, or worse, seek to stop the truth being preached. TRUTH HURTS SOMETIMES.
We want to feel good and feel better about ourselves. Yet God wants us not just to feel better about ourselves, BUT TO BE BETTER PEOPLE, TO BE HIS SERVANTS, and to share the gospel to the world. It is not about making us feel good or making us happy, but it IS ABOUT HONORING GOD AND PLEASING HIM – not just when we gather as the church, but in our everyday lives we show that our first allegiance is to God.
Church has become all about us, not God.
As Christians we die to self when we are buried with Christ in baptism – SO IT SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT ME AND WHAT I WANT, AS MUCH AS I SEEK TO DO MY MASTER’S WILL.
The story of the cross is about how GOD GAVE HIS SON to die for us! He thought not just of himself, but the whole story of the gospel is about us! He made the ultimate sacrifice to save us from our sins. He knew what it would cost, and willingly paid it because he loves us more than we can ever imagine. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Think about how JESUS FREELY, AND WILLINGLY CAME to earth to pay the price for our sins. God expects obedience from us so that we honor Him. Part of that involves worshipping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Hence, Satan has developed so many different denominations and religious groups so that man can find what pleases him, not what pleases God. In the New Testament, Jesus set up one church, not thousands, so that everyone can find what they might like in a church. He died for one church!
Consider further, that it makes no sense for the Godhead, unified in purpose in saving mankind from ourselves, to develop and sanction thousands of denominations, each teaching things that are in opposition to one another, and be pleased with all the strife and confusion therein. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).
So, do we really have the right, considering what the Godhead has done for us, to pick and choose what we like?
Finally, I know that there are better preachers than I; I know that some congregations of the Lord are more “on the ball” than we are and work very hard to reach the lost and keep the saved. That means that we must change – not the gospel story or the Bible – but change ourselves to become what God wants us all to be – faithful Christians working to spread the gospel in every way we can.
Brethren, pray for us here at South Cobb to BE THE CHURCH THAT WE NEED TO BE and show the world around us the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Be committed to the Lord – don’t divorce the one who loves you the most! Be committed to Him and His mission of reaching the lost! God needs dedicated Christians, not “shoppers” that are looking for what pleases them.
Dear Lord, please help us to see that we are here to serve you and please you, not ourselves. Help us to understand that when I look for the “perfect church” I will never find it, because churches are made up of people. Help us to be the people that will encourage others to be the Christians that you desire that they be. Help us to be committed to sharing the gospel with our friends and neighbors and help us Lord not to be weary in well doing. Help those who watch our lives see that our first commitment is to YOU and help us to so live that people will see joy and contentment in our lives as we serve you. As always Lord, help us every day to be reminded that this world is not home – being in heaven with you is what we desire. Lord, come quickly! Love, Tommy