So how do we define ourselves in modern Christianity? Is the Bible exchanged for a seminar notebook, or the latest book on Christian living? Is the gospel exchanged for a salvation tract? Going to church for a television show? Why do we wear crosses on our lapel’s or around our necks? Is it for good luck, or a clear identifiable statement of our relationship with Jesus?
When I was a child my parents were convinced that dancing was an identifiable evil and therefore in fifth grade during the two weeks of social dancing class I carried a note to the teacher excusing me from it. I’m not sure my friends understood the stand for Christianity I was taking, I know I didn’t, I just felt weird and sidelined. Why was it so important to my parents and our church? We also didn’t smoke, drink alcohol, curse, tell lies, or go to the movies. I suppose it was a list of manageable rules regarding Godliness that was attainable. But I’m not sure that God who used Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage, parted the Red Sea, split the rock where water gushed forth from dry ground, and was used to lead Israel to the promised land, did so, so that my Christianity could be identified as not dancing. I’m not sure that God had one prophet lay on his left side for three hundred ninety days to bear the iniquity of Israel, had others thrown into pits, were put into stocks, beaten, sawn in two, and suffered all manner of hardship so that my Christianity could be identified as not going to to the movies to see “The Ten Commandments.” Were the apostles shipwrecked, hungry, stoned, exiled, and put into prison so that we could take such an important stand in identifying ourselves as Christians by the wearing of a cross shaped pin? And I’m not sure that Jesus died, shedding His blood, was raised from the tomb, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit to occupy our hearts, so that our identity as Christians would be measured by our not eating in restaurants that serve alcohol. How did modern Christianity bring us to this level of commitment?
As my childhood church had, what I believe, misplaced priorities, never seeing God for whom He was entirely, but merely a small portion of Him, so I believe the church today is placing God into too small a container. If we see God as only a God of love we are missing much. He has revealed Himself as so much more in the scriptures. In my studies I have identified at least 37 attributes of Jehovah, some are enduring attributes, some enabling attributes, and “we who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and the whole truth.” John 4.24. He is immutable, eternal, sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, holy, righteous, truth, and love. When we pray to the God that we have limited Him to be, we aren’t really praying to Jehovah, for He is so much more.
I have an I-Phone that I use to make phone calls, some texts, voice mail, and that’s about it. I have heard there is much more it can do, there is a compass, calculator, GPS, and you and God knows what else, but because I am restricted by my own self imposed ignorance, most of the phones abilities are wasted on one such as me. Don’t let your relationship with God be as limited as mine with my phone find out who He really is. 2 Timothy 2.15 “Study to show thyself approved…”
A comparison of the old with the new, Hebrews 9. 13-14 “For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”