What’s So Difficult About That?

Today’s church is bent on appearing charming and representing itself as a fairy-tale to the world. It’s steadfastly chasing the ‘happily ever after’ that’s been promised in scripture by fulfilling its own agenda far ahead of its appointed time. We use the name of Jesus to condemn the person instead of the sin. We use salvation as a way to feel entitled and pass judgment. We use wealth to prosper in things that expire. Today’s church is impatient, and it wants its reward now. It’s rife with passive aggressive tendencies rooted in hypocrisy and is more invested in having a relationship with itself than it is with Christ. We want to please people instead of pleasing God. We are turning our backs on the very people we are called to minister to because they either don’t fit the lifestyle we’ve chosen for ourselves, or we’re afraid of offending them. Hell has become more of a concept than an actual place. We’re making excuses to conservatively live liberal lives all in the name of comfort.

The worst thing the church can do is exist to please the consciousness of people. That is lazy and abhorrent behavior. Attendance is down so we contrive new ways of drawing in crowds. We’ve turned church into a gimmick, and Sunday morning has become a sideshow. “Step right up and see what the miracle church can do for you! For a small donation you can by this book that will teach all you need to know about how to have prosperity now!” Televangelism is the new QVC catering to the night owls who will buy anything that’s shiny. Church leaders are selling you on the rags to riches notion of ‘You, too, can have it all!’ But wait…there’s more.

It’s true, the story of Jesus is a real life rags to riches story. There’s no denying that. He was born in a manger. He got a job as a carpenter and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He hung out with fishermen, and befriended a whore. He was homeless and slept wherever and whenever he could. He rode into town on a donkey. One of his friends betrayed him, and another straight up denied knowing him. The authorities thought he was a criminal, so they beat him mercilessly and had him killed. They buried him and went about with their business. I’m not going to lie, that sounds like a pretty rough life. One I wouldn’t want to lead, especially if I didn’t have to. That’s the thing, though. Jesus could have lived a very different life if he wanted to. He had pretty strong connections, and had access to a lot of wealth. So what’s up with this guy anyway? What gives?

I firmly believe that if Jesus were walking the earth today he would be the guy to tell the waitress to have a seat while he clears his own table. He would be the guy on the street hailing a taxi and insist he drive himself to his destination while the driver rides along. He would be the guy who continually serves his neighbor. Servitude, however, doesn’t mean being a ‘yes man’. Christ wasn’t a pushover; he stood up for what he believed in and never backed down. He had many opportunities to just go with the flow and step aside making way for mankind to do its thing, but his perseverance laid in his convictions. He would have done mankind a great disservice by backing down and being a coward. Essentially that is what today’s church has become, cowards. We don’t speak our convictions because we’re too afraid of being off-putting and not being accepted, or we speak them loudly with our own embellishment, because, you know, we believe in Jesus so we’re better than everyone else. Nonsense. We don’t develop relationships with people and let them see Christ through our actions. We hide behind the cross and play hide and seek with the world as it looks for a salvation they may not even be aware of.

I’m a Christian. I’m not perfect. I have many, may faults. I’m no better than anyone else just because I believe in Jesus. All Jesus means to me is that I’ve accepted the fact that I live in world full of sin, and as Paul said, I am the chief of them. I’m not going to condemn anyone because they don’t believe in what I believe in. What I will condemn is the lie that saturates this world with the belief that all you need to do is live a good life. It’s so much more than that. Why would God send people to Hell, you might ask. Do you think anyone sends a criminal to prison but themselves? Sure, they are judged and sentenced, but guess why they were judged and sentenced. They’re the ones who committed the crime. No one made them do it. They chose to. We’re born with sin in our lives and we have an out that is so simple. It’s unfortunate that today’s church as convoluted that simplicity with its own judgment and has made Christ nothing more than a farce.

Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as yourself…”

What’s so difficult about that?

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