I once had a Christian friend say to me that she “didn’t really like going to church because she felt like she was just *going through the motions*!” And those words really got me, for some reason: *going through the motions*. I sat there and thought about it for awhile, trying to ponder what she meant by those words, exactly. And then it hit me! TRADITION. She’s tired of the same, dull, boring TRADITION that’s taking place in churches today. In fact, I can’t blame her. It was honestly why I myself LEFT “the church system” YEARS AGO!
People get dressed up in their Sunday best, pile into the church, sit in pews, and listen to the pastor drone on for about 35 minutes or so. The rest of the time is spent “singing” and “talking about church budgets”. There’s also the “offering plate”, “communion”, etc.
And I’m gonna be truthfully honest, here. The few times that I actually “attempted” to attend actual church services at the local Lutheran church years and years ago, (in order to feel more like an “authentic Christian”), I LIKED hearing about Jesus but I was bored stiff with the overall “sermons” and found myself looking around the church (at the stained-glass windows, at the church organ, at the side of the wall, at anything BUT the pulpit).
And I’d always ask myself, “Why am I so bored, here? Why does it always feel like the same old, same old?” In fact, I even felt GUILTY for “feeling bored” inside a church. I had thought to myself at the time, “Jesus must be really mad at me, NOW! How offended would he be if he found out I felt bored stiff during church sermons?”
In fact, once as a little kid, I even remember saying to my mom one time on the way home from school, “church is boring!” [I went to a Christian pre-school, even though my folks weren’t church-goers, which was weird. I guess my mom was more “Agnostic” back then, sending us there in a “just in case God’s true” scenario]. My mom asked me why. I said, “because all they say is (speaking in a monotone) “Jesus Christ is Lord”.
Now…..I didn’t make that statement to mock Jesus in ANY way, shape or form! What I was TRYING to draw attention to, on that particular day, is more or less that “pastors make Jesus boring“. But the Jesus I KNOW is NOT boring in ANY way, shape or form! The Jesus I KNOW parted the Red Sea, created ALL living things and has the ability to shake the Earth & the Waters with just the mere SOUND of his VOICE! And as I got older, those words I spoke when I was younger about “church is boring” really seemed to resonate deep within me and my soul!
But in fact, NOTHING about today’s “Modern-Day Christianity” is even biblical! It’s sad, folks but it’s true! Church “buildings” aren’t biblical, church “sermons” aren’t biblical, sitting in pews is not biblical, “offering plates” are not biblical, choirs are not “biblical”, the Sunday Sabbath IN AND OF ITSELF is not biblical, getting “dressed up” for “church” is not biblical, “going to church SERVICE” is not biblical, basically, NOTHING about Modern-Day Christianity is BIBLICAL!
Therefore, all of the people that find church “boring” (rather they realize it or not) are actually ON to something! Something deep, deep within their spirits must “sense” that something seems “amiss” in the “churches” today! For example, God created for 6 days, then rested on and CONSECRATED the 7th DAY! So why do “churches” today unbiblically meet on the FIRST day of the week (Sunday?) For Sunday was the very FIRST day of creation!
For another example, “The Church” celebrates New Year’s, Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. But tell me. What do Easter bunnies, painted eggs, Santa Claus, Reindeer, snowmen, confetti and Halloween costumes have to do with JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY? Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
“But Jesus was born on December 25”, some say. Really? Does it say that in the bible? What bible are these folks reading from? Because MY KJV bible doesn’t mention ANYTHING about it being “winter” when Jesus was born! [However, MY KJV bible DOES mention how we’re supposed to instead commemorate Jesus’s death/resurrection/ascension back up to heaven during what’s known as “The Lord’s Supper”!]
And that’s just the “Protestant” way of things……..For if a person is CATHOLIC, it gets EVEN WORSE!
Catholics believe in “Purgatory” (NOT IN BIBLE), “Indulgences” (NOT IN BIBLE), “Praying to Saints” (NOT IN BIBLE), “Jesus had no brothers or sister” (BIBLE PROVES HE DID), “Virgin Mary was the ONLY being born by Virgin Birth” (NOT IN BIBLE – AND HOW DOES THAT EVEN COMPUTE, ANYWAYS? For they couldn’t BOTH be surely born by Virgin Birth…….because if so, that would make Mary God and she’s NOT GOD! Luke 1:46-47 PROVES THIS beyond all shadow of a doubt, people!)
But on to my next point………the “difference” between true, genuine faith and what I call “going-through-the-motions”/manufactured faith.
First, we’ll take a look at the example of King Saul in the Old Testament. At the very beginning, he was very humble, down to Earth, and had a STRONG faith in God Almighty! But as the chapters of 1 Samuel 12+ wear on, Saul starts to get arrogant, proud, disobedient and FEARFUL.
He starts out as THIS:
“And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel” – 1 Samuel 11:13
Comes to THIS:
“Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor” – 1 Samuel 28:7
And ends up like THIS:
“And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it” – 1 Chronicles 10:2-4
So what happened between 1 Samuel 12 and 1 Samuel 28?
The first thing that happened is that King Saul did NOT wait on the Lord’s prophet Samuel to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. The 2nd thing Saul did was REFUSE to kill all the Amalekites and their cattle/etc., whom the Lord SPECIFICALLY commanded to be WIPED OUT!
So see……it all started out with what King Saul thought was a “minor thing” and then, over time, his sins became GREATER and GREATER and his faith became LESS AND LESS! In fact, it would probably be safe to say that King Saul’s “spiritual relationship” with the Lord during that time (from 1 Samuel 12 to 1 Samuel 28) became a thing of OBLIGATION, instead of LOVING OBEDIENCE!
That’s why many people sitting in church pews today feel like they’re “just going through the motions”, because THEY ARE! They’re not truly challenged in their lives to keep the faith and to LOVINGLY obey the Lord and his Written Word! Instead, they’re “spoon-fed” a watered-down/feel-good/cheery message about the bible that doesn’t talk about hell, eternal condemnation, the book of Revelation, bible prophecy, REPENTANCE of sin and/or “getting right with the Lord”. In fact, most church “services” today rarely talk about Jesus AT ALL! It’s more of a “be a good person and that’s good enough” for God type of WATERED-DOWN BLASPHEMOUS MESSAGE! ;(
HOWEVER……an example in the Old Testament of a man who DID have complete and total faith in the Lord is ABRAHAM. Genesis, Chapter 22 in the Old Testament tells us the story of how God TESTED Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his own son, Isaac.
Originally, (BEFORE Genesis 22), Abram (BEFORE God changed his name to “Abraham”) and Sarai (BEFORE God changed her name to “Sarah”) weren’t able to have children due to Sarai being “barren” in her old age. Therefore, it was Sarai’s idea for Abram to marry her handmaiden, Hagar, an Egyptian, which Abram did…..and THAT son’s name was Ishmael. However, Abram was still sad he had no true “genetic heir” and cried out to God in prayer about it. So God opened up Sarai’s womb and him and Sarah had Isaac, the “miracle child” promised by God.
However, in Genesis, chapter 22, Isaac is now a teenager (the bible implies) and God is now worried that Abraham loves Isaac more than he loves HIM (Almighty God). So God decides to test Abraham’s loving, faithful obedience by asking him to sacrifice his “promised son” Isaac!
However, in the biblical narrative, we KNOW that Abraham probably doesn’t like what he has to do, but also that he has FAITH. Because when he and Isaac get to the bottom of Mount Moriah, Genesis 22:5 states, “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you”.
Just think of what type of FAITH Abraham have to have had! For it would’ve taken him TOTAL FAITH to do what he did. [And please remember that the near-sacrifice Isaac is a prototype/foreshadowing for what would someday become God’s sacrifice of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ/Yeshua, for all of mankind! As Abraham didn’t hold back his only son from God, God did not hold back his only son from US!]
However, Genesis 22:10-12 further goes on to state: “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me!”
Further on, we read in Genesis 22: 13-18 how the Lord decided to BLESS ABRAHAM, as a RESULT of his loving obedience and his faith:
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice”.
So from these two biblical examples, we can learn what having true, GENUINE FAITH is, and what having “lukewarm/going-through-the-motions” faith is.
True/GENUINE Faith: Knowing that Yeshua/Jesus Christ has your back, no matter what
Lukewarm/going-though-the-motions: “Maybe Jesus will save me someday on the day of Judgement, maybe he won’t”
See the difference here, folks? Many folks ask the fateful question, “Why has God/Jesus forsaken me?” But ya know what, people? It’s US who forsake HIM!
How? Simple. We don’t have “time” to read our bibles or pray but we DO have time to watch Netflix, text our bestfriend, listen to the radio, etc. We don’t have “time” to donate to the needy because we’re too wrapped up in our OWN lives and “financial woes”. We don’t have “time” to repent of our sins because we got to clean the house, go to work, pay our bills, hang out with our friends, read our favorite novel, pick up the kids from soccer practice, you get the idea……….
So I leave you with THIS: What type of “faith” do you have? Do YOU have the type of faith, where, you knew if you died today, that you’d go to spend eternity with Jesus? Or do you have the type of “faith” where you’re not sure?
Do YOU have the type of faith that’s SO strong, that not even a person pointing a gun at your head and/or threatening to behead you will make you DENY your faith in Jesus Christ? Or would you “squirm” at the first hint of a threat on your LIFE?
Do YOU have the type of faith that’s SO strong, that you share your faith in Jesus with others? Or do you tend to “cower” about your faith in Jesus towards others and try to “bury Jesus” in your life by not letting the name of Jesus be well-known in your life to others?
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” – Hebrews 11:6
What type of faith do YOU have? For IF you don’t have a strong, GENUINE type faith, TODAY is the day to pray to GET that type of faith! Pray the following prayer with me:
“Almighty Yeshua/Lord Jesus, my faith has NOT been where it needs to be, lately. I’ve had a lukewarm faith. But please, bit by bit and little by little, please REMOVE my lukewarm faith and replace it with UNBREAKABLE FAITH IN YOU, EVEN IN THE FACE OF DEATH/TORCHURE SOMEDAY. Please give me a faith and trust in you that’s SO STRONG, that NOTHING or NO-ONE can break it! Thank-you, Lord. Amen”
And pray that prayer with all your HEART, SOUL, MIND, BODY AND STRENGTH and MEAN that prayer with ALL YOUR HEART AND SOUL! TRUST IN THE LORD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYER FOR UNBREAKABLE FAITH AND HE WILL ANSWER YOU! 😉
GREAT AND MIGHTY IS OUR LORD & GOD! HE PARTED THE RED SEA, HE WALKED ON THE WATER, AND HE SPOKE THE VERY UNIVERSE INTO EXISTENCE WITH JUST THE MERE SOUND OF HIS VOICE! GREAT, MIGHTY AND POWERFUL IS HIS NAME! THE NAME ABOVE ALL OTHER NAMES! 😉