Who is the Greatest Among the Church?
The Coronavirus has provided you with an opportunity. God broke your pattern of normal Sunday church attendance…and this may be a wonderful opportunity. Your church is likely closed or just getting back to services. Things are probably not running normally. God could be using this to speak to you. This is a really good time to take stock of your Christian life and your relationship to the church.
Have you examined why you go to church?
Have you searched your heart why you go to your church?
Many Christians go to church for the wrong reasons. You might be one of them.
These Christians may show up for church each week for the feel of it. They may go with a desire to be entertained. They may go because of tradition or what is expected of them. They might talk about a “need to be fed” which sounds good in Christian talk. In their case, though, it really means to passively consume a product. The exact symptoms of their malady vary in presentation, but the root is all the same. Their involvement in Church is all about them. This is never Christ’s intention for His disciples.
There is nothing wrong with parts of each of the desires mentioned. Every Christian has preferences and personality that play a part in their walk with Jesus. They should desire to grow as a disciple. It is when these are the primary reasons a Christian goes to church there is a big problem. They may be more consumers than Christians.
They may be the immature Christian addresses by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.
Does this ring true for your walk? Is Paul speaking to you? Are you a carnal Christian?
A Carnal Christian Life
Carnal simply means referring to the flesh. Carnal Christianity is where the things of Christianity are used to satisfy your flesh. Church is transformed into a venue to make people feel good rather than serve the Lord. Jesus said the greatest His followers will be the servants of all. Yet, there are many sitting in pews who are there to be treated like the boss. They seek to be catered to like a customer.
These churchgoers are like patrons in a fancy restaurant. They need to be greeted, seated, made comfortable, and fed just the right meal in order to be made happy. If their flesh is not satisfied, they will let management know it. The product provided did not meet their standards. They end up unsatisfied with the service and the church for all the wrong reasons. This sort of Christianity is all about the Christian and not the Savior.
Carnal Christianity tends to manifest itself in a number of ways. Each reflect the things of this world rather than the holiness of God.
It shows up in atmospheric driven churches and seeker-sensitive models. There must be light uplifting messages and cool settings to satisfy the customer. There has to be hip relevant teaching focused on the audience delivered smoothly with video clips interspersed. These environments are carefully managed to engage the senses while not offending.
It manifests in a demand for lots of programs but very little self-sacrifice. The messages are about self help and pumping up the audience. The allure of the secret to living the best life now sells to the saved and unsaved alike. There is very little Jesus but a whole lot of Tony Robbins in these settings.
It also creeps into the church through the signs and wonders doctrines and their cousins, the Prosperity Gospel. These churchgoers fill the seats in order to turn God into their genie to be commanded at will. They demean God and make Him subservient to them. Bigger and flashier spectacles are required to keep these consumers happy.
These are the more obvious versions.
The Undercover Gospel of Self
Yet, the self-serving mindset also can infiltrate even the most sound churches. It creeps in through the Christian and their thoughts.
How do you view success in your own walk with Jesus? Is it that you are growing, you are victorious over sin, you are being a nicer person or happier? Is it when things are going smoothly in your life? These are not bad things but they are not your call as a servant of Jesus. Your job is to be just that, a servant. The greatest among the church is not the one living their best life now.
Want to take a quick test to see how you are doing with this?
A Gallup Survey asked people to choose three questions they would most like to ask God.
What would yours be? Stop and really think about it.
The top 3 responses were:
“Will there ever be lasting world peace?”
“How can I be a better person?”
“What does the future hold for my family and me?”
These are understandable inquiries. Yet, they reveal a subtle but powerful defect in the heart of those asking.
There is very little God in them. Each of the questions reveals a man-centered view of God. They all deal with self, those we love, and the ease in which we deal with life. They all revolve around the person. The opportunity to know the eternal God better is wasted on questions more suitable for the enchanted mirror from Snow White.
Who is the fairest, what is my future, how can I improve me? These are all about you, Christian, and you are not the point. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End. This means it is all about Him.
Why Do You Go to Church?
This is where examining your Church attendance can be extremely helpful. Why did you go to your Church before the virus hit?
Were you going each week to love and actively serve the Body of Christ?
Were you there to learn more about God and see His glory?
Were you there as a consumer for weekly mirror gazing ?
Was your focus on asking who is the fairest Christian, how can I improve me, what can I do to make God do something, and what can you give me God? This turns the relationship between you, the Church and the Lord completely upside down. Servants are there to serve. Christian servants are there to lovingly and joyfully serve and worship. It is all about GOD, not you.
So what is your focus in Church? Why are you there?
To serve Jesus as Lord and Master in everything?
To attend church to serve the people you are there with while learning more about the One who gave all for you?
Did your world revolve around Jesus and His Bride before the pandemic?
Too many just go once a week to get a contact Spiritual buzz to carry you for a few days to feel good until next week?