Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, April 11, 2016
Media coverage on faith in America has revealed a disturbing trend. The conclusion centers around how deeply religious we Americans are, but that the nature of our religion is changing. Both people and the Church are changing to make religion less of a burden so they can attract the increasing number of unbelievers. I think this is a dangerous trend for the Christian Church. For lack of a better term, I will call this trend “Christianity Lite”.
Eugene Peterson said, “There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what generations of Christians called…Holiness.” I think he’s right. But let us not forget that, whereas you and I may not be interested in this issue of personal holiness, God definitely is. God says “…be Holy in all you do. For it is written: “Be Holy, because I am Holy.” (1 Pet.1 15-16).
I am convinced that God is far more interested in growing a Holy Church than He is a “user-friendly” Church. This is especially true if this term means by compromising with the world and becoming more like the world so people of the world will feel more comfortable around us. He does not want us to “lighten up” in our devotion, commitment, or holiness. He does not want us to practice Christianity Lite.
We ought not to be so proud of ourselves if we conduct church and worship in such a way that a lost unbeliever can attend our worship service and feel totally at home and comfortable. Remember the Prophet Isaiah? He didn’t feel too comfortable when he came to church one day and stepped into the presence of Holy God. He cried out in horror and dreadful fear, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah. 6:5). That doesn’t sound like a light-hearted approach to reverence to me, does it to you?
To understand how serious God is about personal holiness in the lives of His people, just read the book of Acts, Chapter 5. This is the story of a brand new church start. They are looking to establish themselves and grow. But just when these 1st Century church-planters are getting this new church off the ground in Jerusalem, something happens that absolutely defies every modern day principle of the contemporary church growth movement. Two prominent members of the Church, a couple named Ananias and Sapphira, brought an offering to the Church. Unfortunately, they lied about the offering and kept some of the money for themselves (Acts 5:1). Because of their misdeed, God strikes both of them dead right there at the church door.
Why did God go to such extreme measures of discipline in this young church? Didn’t He know this could be a major set-back for a church struggling for acceptance in a hostile culture? Didn’t God know this could give His church a really bad image in the community? Didn’t God know this could really produce some alarming P.R. at a time when the Church was struggling to gain momentum?
Imagine if this sort of event happened today. When the media caught wind of this, it would take myriad TV appearances by someone such as Billy Graham or Rick Warren combined with a mountain of mailers to overcome the negative press the media. The Church today is often focused on assuring people they will hear nothing that would offend them, or make them feel uncomfortable during their worship experience. This approach does not equate to Christ’s Gospel, which offends us regularly by telling by we are all sinners, i.e. bad people.
Why would God take the lives of Ananias and Sapphira? The reason is because He is dead serious about personal holiness. He did this because He is Holy! God is still dead serious about Holiness in your life and mine and in His corporate body, the Church, even if it is offensive to you and makes you uncomfortable. I suggest to you it’s time we got serious about it. God does not want us to “do church” so we can simply fill million-dollar multi-media centers, abandoning evangelism for entertainment. He wants us to worship Him and repent of our sins, a topic many churches are terrified to discuss for fear of offending their members.
Christianity-Lite is not normal. Despite it being so popular and trendy today, I think it literally makes God sick (Revelation 3:16). God is not nearly so interested in making you comfortable and stroking your self-image as He is making you Holy. His message of holiness should make us a little uncomfortable and uneasy. I hope we all have an experience today similar to Isaiah’s and get just a glimpse of the glorious, consuming, brilliant, burning, Holiness of Almighty God. If you do, it will change your life.
This will not be a popular message, even some Christians. I also believe each one of us needs to hear it, like it or not. Our God is a God of Light, not a God of Lite. His Light shines on us and exposes our sin. My prayer today is that you will no longer be able to be content or comfortable with the sin in your life. I pray you will reject Christianity Lite and look to the Holy Light of the World.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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