Paul wrote, “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
The practice of “Christianity” as a weekend add on to one’s already overly busy life has no basis in the New Testament. Christ must be first and all – for God has predestined Him to fill all in all – or else that one is an idolater as surely as one who bowed to Baal, worshiped Ishtar or sacrificed one’s children to Molech. One’s very life - if one has entered into the new life of Christ – is to be lived for the new and eternal King, Christ Jesus. Anything less is treachery and treason against the King and His kingdom.
Every aspect of one’s life is to be subject to His Lordship, His Kingship. One’s job, one’s friends, one’s associates, one’s business practices, one’s fellowship with other followers of Christ must all be subject to the wishes of the King – and these, if genuinely done in Him, will bear His stamp of approval of mutual peace, joy and righteousness (what is right in God’s eyes) by His Spirit. There is no room for “church” politics or gamesmanship or self-centeredness – all things must be Christ-centered – or else it is a counterfeit “Christianity” and someone else’s kingdom.
The end of the age will be characterized by deception and lawlessness (doing what is right in one’s own eyes). Many who know lots of Bible trivia and facts and who are immersed in the limitations and deceptions of their preferred “theology” and denomination, are still fallen from the faith because they live their lives according to their own desires and their own understanding and have never submitted to the will and Person of the King, Christ Jesus. It remains true that only those who actively pursue and regularly practice the will of God belong in the kingdom of God.
There is perhaps no more subtle snare for the new or growing believer than the denominational “church.” One chooses (according to one’s own likes and preferences) which division of “church” appeals the most and then attends and participates in that one as much or as little as one wants. This is pure lawlessness (doing what is right in one’s own eyes) and it’s all done in the name of Christ. The New Testament pattern of assembly is local (neighbors and those living closest to you) and loving (taking care to personally serve one another).
One’s work can be an equally subtle trap. Our culture has become captivated in materialism and, if you want a career or often even a job, one must commit to working 40 to 60 hours each week in order to bring home a handsome salary or a “decent” wage. This often results in one or both parents being unwilling or unable to completely or even adequately fulfill their parental responsibilities to their children. Many “ministers” (under whatever title they attach to themselves) practice the same model in the name of Christ. This is not living for the One who died and rose again – it is mere lawlessness practiced in His name.
There are some who get snared up in what some have called “introspective paralysis” trying to do God’s will. They don’t know what God wants or they fear a “vengeful God” (a construct of false, imbalanced teachings or vain imaginations) and become unable to make any decisions whatsoever. This is a snare. Knowing God’s will, in part because God’s communications with us run so deep and in part because we are constantly battling sin, self and Satan, is a process, a learning, growing, ever-expanding experience. None of us ever arrive at perfectly knowing God’s will all the time (sometimes He wants us to make mature, godly decisions without overt directions!) and those who think they’re always hearing God rightly have succumbed to an unwise confidence in their own flesh. Doing God’s will, while a difficult undertaking at times, is not a tortuous bondage. Obeying the King still brings about peace, joy and righteousness by His Spirit. Anything else is a snare that exposes our service and bondage to the kingdom of darkness.
Let he who has ears hear.
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