“ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY”-JFK
That is one of the most recognized lines in the history of speech making. Most of us don’t have to be told that it’s from John F Kennedy,one of the youngest Presidents of the United States of America. A speech to rally up the people to stop focusing on themselves, and think about how they can each contribute to the greater benefit of the nation. As later years would show , Kennedy had a lot of skeletons in the closet, that would follow him in presidential and private Legacy, but that was such a profound statement, that immortalized him.
Somehow and unfortunately we “modern day” Christians have gotten it twisted. We’ve flipped it round and it’s become
“Lord, ask me, not what i can do for your Kingdom, but what you can do to build MINE”.
The modern day “gospel” has become so focused on, How we can, Get our best life now, “Write our own ticket “, claim our inheritance NOW, that there little or no room in our minds , thoughts or desires to ask,
How we as individuals can further the Kingdom by bringing more people in. Just like the prodigal that demanded his inheritance before the appointed time, we. The consensus is,
“When we as Christians are wealthy, we can pay higher tithe, therefore , have more money to build bigger churches and send missionaries out”.
The truth is, if furthering the Kingdom was our REAL and number 1 concern, we’d ask for God to bless that ministry , and not be requesting him to use us as the financial conduit or middleman, who gets a 90% commission.
That big bonus, or huge salary rise would go to the building,missionary or homeless fund, and not to a brand new whip, or wardrobe upgrade. If the biggest reason for financial increase was the Kingdom. We’d give more of our time, skills and talent directly to the church or ministry , voluntarily ,so the church could direct funds elsewhere.
Our prayers would be “God, please supply just enough for my needs, so I’m not worried about money, but not more than i need, that my heart would stray from you”.
NOW, this is NOT to say we can’t aspire to be financially comfortable, own a big business, or succeed exceptionally in our chosen careers.
The point is, we spend so much time , claiming the wealth “promises” and what God can do for US, that we rarely turn and ask,
“Lord, what is it that you have set out for me to do for YOUR kingdom”.
We think, it’s the job of the pastor, deacons, ministers , elders etc. We rarely cry like Isaiah “Here i am, send me”. Most of our thoughts and actions go, “Here’s my money, send it..but don’t even think of asking me to go anywhere or do anything”
Once again, THIS IS NOT against , attaining success financially or otherwise, But i think we should just admit that we want wealth, success etc. for our own comfort , instead of the sanctimonious, “I’m praying for it for the Kingdom sake”.
We are not fooling GOD, when the Kingdom is just a very last, after thought for that wealth desire and we pretend like it’s the first .
Remember Annanias and Saphira??
I was listening to a teaching on the Prodigal Son yesterday, and it occurred to me, that with numerous teachings on how to have a ;best life now, and riches NOW. We demand our inheritance from God NOW, and want to go off and enjoy, while we leave the harvest and the building of the Family Empire(God’s Kingdom) to our more mature siblings i.e the missionaries,pastors, the evangelists. We aren’t concerned about the generations to come after us, all we want to do is grab as much of the inheritance right NOW.
This is NOT against having financial success, but it’s evident that it’s become a SOLE focus. A lot of us due to certain teaching, ONLY see God as a cosmic bell hop; there to respond to our chanting of twisted/mis interpreted scripture at him .Our thought patterns have made scripture an ATM pin code to Heavens bank account instead of “for reproof, correction and training in righteousness”.
In the past 40 years or so, Christianity has adopted the American Dream, and just tied a ribbon of scripture around it to pass it off as Gospel. A message that is so focused on a comfortable cushy problem free materialistic life, that the early church would spin in their graves ,if they found out what we are teaching, “is this what we were killed and fed to the lions for!!!”.
A lot of which sounds no different from what you’d hear at a secular Wealth Building/Self empowerment seminar, (a few of which have metaphysical origins). Our justification!! “The Lord promised me”.Now there is nothing wrong with personal development, but it should not be done at the expense of a person’s soul.
In fact, if you are familiar with personal development, you can hear some sermons almost lifted verbatim, from some self help books and tapes. This is not to say personal development is wrong, but we have to be aware that some of it , and it’s speakers also learn from new age and other questionable movements.
Some “pastors” have gone as far to say we should not pray “if it be thy will Lord”. They claim it’s a prayer of doubt. But isn’t that a HUGE contradiction to Jesus teaching the disciples to pray “Our Father………YOUR will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven”
Are we to listen to their method and not the Lord Jesus. You’d be surprised and frightened at who some of the people saying this are, huge and influential ministries for decades, but that is not for today.
Looking at the early church, the early apostles, none of them had a cushy, problem free lifestyle. None of them sat in their La Z boy ,saying
“That’s not my calling, I’ll lick a few stamps, and write a cheque but that’s it”.
Imagine if Paul,Peter, Timothy John the Revelator had many of our attitudes??
Too far back to relate to?
What would be of what we know of the Church today, if John Calvin decided all wanted to do was sign cheques. Or Martin Luther thought he’d leave the expounding to the Pastor alone. What if Charles Spurgeon or George Mueller,John Bunyan, Smith Wigglesworth, decided that, he’d chill at home and just send a love gift to God TV when the Dow Jones jumps a few points.
Still don’t know DO SOME RESEARCH ON THESE EARLY 20TH CENTURY REFORMERS
The Bible says “take on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day” .It didn’t say, “contribute to the armor fund and watch the ship sail off then go home and lean back”
This is not saying that we are all going to be missionaries in the field, pastors or in a direct form of ministry. But regardless we are still asked to take on the armor, and not just those in the five fold ministry. We may not be in the front lines like the missionaries and the Pastors but we are the reserve army that could be called to report at any time. What if in the wealth we are claiming and fighting so much for, we get too fat for the armor.
We’ve consumed so much “good stuff” that when the battle-cry comes, we’ve gained too much weight to fit into the armor. We are too lethargic to even move.
The breast plate of righteousness, is bursting at the seams and no longer protects our sides , because we may have engaged in something dodgy to attain that “promised” wealth.
The shield of faith has weakened because after attaining the wealth or while seeking it, Church becomes mechanical, routine, if at all we go, and spiritual growth has become irrelevant.
As for the sword of the spirit, we have absorbed so many wealth and sweet by and by, “promises” that the battle preparation,spiritual war fare verses were neglected.
The verses that predict the inevitable are skipped over and downplayed as only judgement on the heathen not us “the saved”.
The verses that enable us to prepare for the battle, that is “not against flesh and blood” are glossed over.
How can we be battle ready if we have been so fattened by the spiritual equivalent of Twinkies,Ding Dongs and Dumplings, that we can barely fit into the armour(if we remember where it is and how to put it on)
Modern “gospel” is lot a more of ” Lifestyle of the rich and Famous” justified by twisting scripture,than it is truth .
We have been programmed in self preservation(physical,emotional,reputation) and many celebrity Pastors who “preach” messages that ; lack Repentance from sin,Remorse over sin,Holiness,Righteous living, passion for lost souls.
All in an attempt to be politically correct and avoid losing or offending their unrepentant fans(yes fans), who sit to hear all about how God is going to give them all the desires of their heart. but requires no change or sacrifice from them. They care more about being high on popularity and opinion polls, than they do do uncompromising Biblical truth on Sin and Salvation…
….but you may think, “they give altar calls and many people answer and are are saved, God is using them” . OK. But who are the people answering the altar call????
The people that want a Jesus upgrade from a Buick to a Mercedes, to move from The Projects to a Penthouse, from RV Holidays to Jet Skiing in Barbados.
Those “converts” don’t want Jesus,
They want what they can get by dropping his name in front of God.But he better not mess with their default settings.
At least those that go to Tony Robbins Wealth seminar are honest about why they are there, and to be frank experience more success, than those falsely converting ,and claiming promises with misinterpreted scripture.
MENTAL QUIZ: Think of this, how many people attend a seminar on
Holiness and growing in Christ, Being an effective witness
as opposed to the masses that attend a Achieve your destiny ,Enter your prosperity.
Believe me, I know, been guilty of it myself.
When many of these celebrity pastors are directly confronted by secular media, or non believers about sin or salvation, they water it down, or give the greatest single answer dodging line(s)
“it’s not my place to judge” , “i can’t tell you who’s going to heaven and who’s not going”,
OH, and here’s a big winner “Judge not, i can’t judge somebody’s heart, i don’t know their hear, only God knows it.”
YES, it’s not your place to judge,don’t give them your opinion, just tell them what the Bible categorically states on the issue of sin and how to assure salvation.
“..The heart of man is desperately wicked no one can know it…”- Jeremiah 17:9
“…you shall know them by their fruit”- MATT 7:18-20
“I am THE way the truth and the NO ONE comes to the father but by me” -John 14:6
.PRETTY CLEAR ISN’T IT
Instead they promote a cotton candy, lah lah land, Care Bear picture of God. YES, he is a Loving God, but he is also an incorruptible Judge, who will not acquit the guilty or those that wilfully and even gleefully break his law
They neglect the fact that people are living unrepentant and unwilling to change in sin and say “Smile God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.
Imagine that pasted over the side of Noah’s ark.
They paint the life a Christian is to live as some Shan gri La….A Paradise Island, .If you are not rich and completely healthy 100% , you either
1)Need to give more to their ministry
2)Buy their book and find out how to achieve it
3)Don’t have enough faith for 100% health and wealth,and you are a doubter
Quite a contrast from the lives the Apostles lived, or even the one Christ told us to expect in Matthew 10 & 24.
This is not about going out, like a suffer seeking missile, causing trouble and seeking persecution. We are not masochist. But we have to realize that the feel good message feeding the flock is no good. We want to be fed , stay at home and never be called or leave for the mission and battlefields, literally or metaphorically. Growing fat, like an over feed, yet under nourished hamster, protected from the world in it’s cage.
We all have seen, how a once magnificent athlete makes it big, becomes rich , comfortable , famous, dates and marries a stunner. Having struck career and personal gold, he gets distracted ,then adds weight and starts to perform poorly on the field, Letting down the team and the fans, eventually benched, not so long after being on the road to Legend status.
Imagine being an NFL quarterback and your two blockers have become over weight and can barely move, already wheezing in the huddle before the game has started. Would you want them, or feel confident with them having your back as you charge the opposition?
NOW Imagine that was YOU on the front-line of a battlefield, war, life and death situation, and those are the people giving you back up. Sword to sword combat, without the safety of long range weapons. There’s no mention of missile,Jet fighters or M16’s in the armour of God.We are in the thick of the battle, your only protection is your training, weapons and your allies. Getting the picture??
As we are meant to be soldiers for Christ and the Kingdom, what does this say about our state of fitness.
Fat and lethargic soldiers in the real world are useless and certainly likewise in the spiritual,they do the army of God no good. The opposition is well armed and fully aware of what to do . Nobody carries an overweight and lethargic soldier into battle , they get left behind in the base , miss the battle, and the rewards of victory, they most likely get a dishonorable discharge.
TO BE CONTINUED
PS- All this is as much and perhaps bigger challenge to me as it is to anyone else that remembers the importance of The Great Commission over The great 401k.
This note is NOT about being mediocre, poor and using Holiness as an excuse. But against an obsession with money that makes people pervert, misinterpret and twist scripture to justify greed.