Monday, January 20, 2014

A Worship That Costs

We have raised our children in an age of convenience. They can watch whatever they want on television; we have movies on demand. The Internet brings whatever knowledge you are looking for, along with any form of depravation you seek. Almost everyone has cars and you are pretty poor if you don't (I don't). Credit cards are as easy to get as a glass of water, or should I say bottle? Everything is easy and the things that require work are avoided. Maybe that is why there are so many High School drop outs. If kids can't finish High School then life is not going to be any joy ride for them.

The ease of the depravities of our society and culture are wearing down the substance of our faith. Our children are growing up needing a greater dependence on the LORD than we ever did. The ease of everything is like a poison, softening fortitude and determination. As the times get tougher I have to wonder if any of the children will be strong enough to stick to Jesus?

The Church is not much better than our Western Society. In an effort to make it easier for sinners, to be more attractive to getting people through the front door, we have dummified faith. We have made it convenient for people to worship because if we don't they won't. We need to ask ourselves if we are doing anyone a service with this attitude and approach.

When Israel came into the Promised Land and Yahweh told them the dimensions of their land and which nations they were to drive out. He also told them there would be one place to worship:

But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. (Deuteronomy 12:5-7)

These people had to travel great distances, at great effort and expense, to present their worship before Yahweh. Could it be that Yahweh does not accept worship without sacrifice? Could it be that our love and devotion is suppose to cost us something? Many times in the Scriptures we read this warning:

No one is to appear before me empty-handed. (Exodus 34:20)

Now before you get the wrong idea and I go off in an Old Testament mentality, we remind ourselves that Jesus told us that true worshipers worship in spirit and truth. The location no longer matters but the attitude certainly does and that is what concerns me because too many of us are showing up empty handed.

I don't mean on Sundays and I am not talking about our tithes and offerings (although that should be considered in the total package). How many of us enter a day with not a thought about Jesus? How many of us plot our own course? How many of us reserve worship for Sunday and even then our thoughts are elsewhere? If there is one thing we should have learned from Jesus, he is not looking for lukewarm devotion and that is exactly what we are producing by our churches of convenience.

All your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength; your entire being is what Jesus demanded. He said the sign of love is obedience. There is suppose to be effort and fortitude in our desire to worship him with our entire life every day of our life. Deny yourself, is not a thing of convenience. Walk in your calling, is not a thing of convenience. Doing what Jesus did, is not a thing of convenience.

Loving Jesus with passion costs. Loving our neighbour as ourself costs. Loving with the love of Jesus costs. Being a follower of Jesus costs and will cost a much greater price in the years to follow. We have to bury the idea and desire of a life of ease and get down to the real work of representing the Good News of Jesus Christ in a world that is becoming hostile toward him. Let us be determined to run this race to the finish and let us raise our children with a backbone of faith that isn't afraid of a little hardwork.

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