In his book The Empty Church, historian Thomas C. Reeves says: "Christianity in modern America … tends to be easy, upbeat, convenient, and compatible. It does not require self-sacrifice, discipline, humility, an otherworldly outlook, a zeal for souls, a fear as well as love of God. There is little guilt and no punishment, and the payoff in heaven is virtually certain. What we now have might best be labeled 'Consumer Christianity.' The cost is low and customer satisfaction seems guaranteed."
If we were only customers of Almighty God, we could be selective in our faith and reject anything we didn't like. But that's not an idea we get from Jesus. He pointed us to a cross, not to a spiritual check-out counter. He said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24). Christ died on a cross for our sins, not for our satisfaction. And He calls us to trust in Him, then follow Him with a life of self-denial. In a world where the customer is always right, it takes dedicated obedience to God to keep from buying into "Consumer Christianity."
“I Know I’m Going to Heaven”
There's an old phrase that speaks of "excusing the sins we're most inclined to, while condemning those we've no mind to." I was reminded of it recently when I read a survey in which people were asked to indicate who they thought was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to go to heaven. An athlete known for his outrageous behavior rated a 28% chance. Four national politicians hovered around the 50% mark. A popular TV talk-show host received a 66% vote. But in the highest rating of all, 87% of the people surveyed believed they themselves would go to heaven!
The standards we have for ourselves are rarely as strict as those we hold for others. They allow us to denounce a drug addict while we remain gossips. In reality, without Christ no one is good enough to go to heaven. After praying that God would judge His enemies, the psalmist turned the spotlight on himself: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). It's not wrong to stand against sin wherever it occurs. But it's a tragic mockery of God's grace to judge others harshly while being lenient on ourselves
A Sincere Apology
Lloyd Ogilvie, the chaplain of the US Senate, tells about a time when he was having lunch with a prominent businessman. A woman, who recognized the executive, walked over to their table and greeted him with a hefty slap on his back, causing him to spill coffee on his suit. Then with a flamboyant gesture, she tossed her fur stole over her shoulder, brushing Dr. Ogilvie full in the face. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she apologized. The executive looked her straight in the eye and said, "Ma'am, don't be sorry, be different!"
When we sin, the Lord isn't interested in just a quick apology. He looks for a different attitude and a change of behavior. Scripture calls this godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2Cor. 7:9-10).
John P. Robinson, often called America's "time guru," claims that people today sleep more than they think they do. He says that though they have more leisure time than ever, they still report feeling "stressed, rushed, and crunched for time."
Robinson calls this problem "over-choice." It's caused by the sheer number of options available to fill our time and the wearying realization that no matter what we choose to do, we are leaving something undone. If our identity is defined by activity, we operate on the principle, "The more we do, the more we are." We are exhausted, and we are the reason.
If Jesus hadn't focused on doing His Father's will, He too could have been overwhelmed by all the needy people and demanding tasks He faced. But instead of frenzied activity, Christ personified the focused life in everything He did. He said, "He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him" (Jn. 8:29).
Each day, Jesus sought to know His Father's will as He moved purposefully to the cross. There, He finished all that God had given Him to do. Today, our heavenly Father invites us to focus on Him for the wisdom and strength to complete the work He has given to us.
A Moments Wisdom
If I asked, 'Why me, Lord?' about my troubles, I would have to ask, 'Why me, Lord?' about my blessings, too.
If a man could have half his wishes he would double his troubles.
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
He who provides for this life, but takes no care for eternity, is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.
There is but one question, and that is: What is the will of God? That settles all other questions.
Test Your Bible Knowledge of Job
- I told Job to curse God and die.
- I told God that if He would remove His blessings from Job, he would curse Him to His face.
- We sat silently with Job for a week while he mourned his losses.
- I was the young man who waited until near the end to counsel Job.
- I told Job to stand in front of me and answer me like a man.
I repented to the Lord for speaking rashly about Him.