I’m sure most of you remember the TV commercials for the product “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “If it’s not butter then what exactly is it?” This product is a soft spread made out of “things” that are supposed to be a healthy alternative to butter. The name of the product implies that it tastes identical to butter, therefore you honesty can’t tell the difference between it and the real thing. The truth is that no matter how much it tastes, smells, looks, or feels like butter you can rest assured that this product is not really butter.
Listen carefully. I love the church. I have a passion and desire to see the church of God become all that it is meant to be and my greatest desire is that the children of God glorify Him with their fullest potential. I fear, however, that we have become too much like the product “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” We look so much like the real thing, but when it comes down to the truth can we really claim to be the real deal? We are very careful to do everything church people do. Unfortunately the majority of things church people “do” are nothing more than traditions set by men, not by God. There are so many things that we do, not because we feel led by God to do them, but because we’ve always done them. Let’s face it, even our worship can become nothing more than a mundane routine that is powerless and void of Spirit.
Much of the problem is our unwillingness to give God our hearts. We give him everything else. We do things for him. We help people, we give money, we give our time, we try to live better lives, we do ministries, we come to church, we sing songs, we teach Sunday school, I mean we do a lot for God and that has to count for something right? Is that really what God wants? Is God really interested in the things that we do? Is that what church is all about, doing our righteous deeds? God says in Isaiah 64, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”.
Let’s get to the point. We can look like a church by the worlds standards, we can do a lot of righteous deeds, and we can worship God together in the church building every Sunday morning, but if we’ve yet to give our hearts to God then it is all in vain. Jesus shot down the heartless traditions of men in Mark 7:6 when he said to the Pharisees and Teachers of the law, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’
Are we the real deal or do we just claim to be? Do we offer lip service to God or have we really given him our hearts? I think if we were to look deep within ourselves we would discover that we more often than not honor God with our lips and yet our hearts are so very far away.
While I do not know what the future holds for our churches, I do know that if we desire to glorify God we cannot carry on in our pharisacial traditions that claim to be Christianity but in reality only come off as cheap replicas. We have to give Jesus our hearts! I mean we have to go “all in”. What will it look like for the church of God to listen to God? What will it look like when we give up our own “views” of what church is supposed to look like and allow God to show us what it really means to be the bride of Christ? I think it will require change. I think it will require sacrifice. I think it will be glorious. God forgive us when we take everything of yours and make it about us. Teach us how to bring you glory in our church.