I lost my Father and my Brother-in-Law John in the same year. The one thing I miss is the great way these two fine men loved God. My dad was a mathematician and a chemical engineer, while John was a biologist. Both of them had I.Q.s off the charts. They could talk circles around me. Yet, when we discussed theology and church, we were equals. They could defend science and religion in the same breath.
My dad could not understand how anyone who believed in the Messiah God, Jesus, could willingly and willfully sin against Him or even try to justify wrong behavior. John on the other hand, felt that to much effort was being put into a “touchy-freely” God and not enough revering the Awesome God.
I’m going to address the three things that bothered John the most about Evangelical Churches as opposed to his Roman Catholic Faith. These were not the things you would expect to be a problem, but things that deal with how you live your faith. As we talked, I found that I was in agreement with him.
Now before you get upset, let me clarify myself. What bothered brother John was; the relationship some evangelist have with God is less reverent and more, as he would say, emotional and “common.”
First complaint: Not respecting Jesus as God made Man. Forgetting the human nature of Jesus.
Second complaint: Ignoring God as King and Lord of our lives. Treating God as a daddy (as we tried to manipulate our earthy patents when we were children)or a servant.
Third complaint: Failing to show God common respect and revering him as the most important person in our lives, the one who holds us in the palm of His Hand and is King, Father, Lord and Judge of all Life.
We forget to treat Jesus as the perfect man and start to look at him as our buddy, our pal. We like to say how great He is, but do we truly realize what He gave up to be our friend? We look at Jesus as God whenever we need something from Him, but just accept Him as an “anybody” the rest of the time. What Jesus expects us to become is, perfected in Him. We are called to be imitators of Christ. That means that are we not to think it presumptuous to obtain Holiness before God. When we are told to be Christlike that does not mean that we bring Christ down to our level, but we are to raise up to His. What Jesus did in His life on earth was to show us that it was possible to live exemplary lives. If we think of Jesus as the Perfect Man as much as we think of Him as the Perfect God, perhaps it would be easier to live the Christ Life.
We tend to think of God as a “object” of love. We treat Our Lord as a fetish rather that realizing Him as the Power, Strength, Judgment and, most of all, Mercy. God is Omnipotent. Our Faith is built more on emotions and feeling than on Truth. We seem to hang onto God as if He were a kitten or a puppy rather that the Source of All things Created. We should still fear the wrath of God, BECAUSE HE LOVES US! The father disciplines those He loves. Being “Lovey-dovey “doesn’t make it. We still have to respect God for all That He Is! He doesn’t have to Love us, He chooses to. For that alone, we should be stepping all over ourselves trying to show God that we are not complacent about His Grace. We should be doing everything in our power to see that everything we do is pleasing to God.
The last accusation, the most obvious of John’s complaints, was that we do not give God the respect He deserves by treating His Sanctuary as if it were a parlor hall and not as the Temple. We come in to talk with each other, conduct business and do every thing else except greet our host, God. When I throw a party, I expect my guests to greet me, thank me for inviting them and the like, before they go talk with the other guests. While in His House, we should greet Him first with our prayers. Even princes bow before the King in his palace. We are here by His Grace and His John believed that we should give God Glory as soon as we enter into a place of Worship. Fellowship should be done outside the church or after worship, the sanctuary is God’s time with us.
I also have a complaint. I don’t know if this is just a California bad habit, or if this is wide spread. I have a hard time dealing with those who are “respectfully late” and services that do not start on time. Tardiness is rampant here in Southern California. If you had a chance to meet with the Governor or the President you would not dare to be late, yet every week the same people come drifting in five, ten even twenty minutes late. If you had a chance to meet a rock star or celeb, you wouldn’t be late. You would even race down the streets, breaking traffic laws to get there on time. Yet there is this cavalier attitude when it comes to God.
Don’t let John’s complaint be a testimony of your life. Put worship and respect of God in perspective, giving God the Honor He deserves. Come to Church with an attitude of a guest in His house and greet Him first. Make every effort to be timely and diligent. Recall the sacrifice Jesus made for you and live up to His example. And Give God Reverence as the Almighty, the Great Who Am!
Now is the time to come and Worship God with a New Attitude.