Something To Live For
For some years now I have thinking seriously about death. Not because I have a death wish or because I’m morbid, or sad, but because as I look at our churches, Christians, our version of Christianity, and the bible, I observe that we have an unhealthy pre-occupation with life.
We are bombarded with sermons that tie us to life in such a way that one would think that there is nothing to die for. We have been taught, and have learnt, how through God, how to obtain the well paid job, the business, the beautiful wife/husband, cars houses, prestige, affluence, more money, more houses, social prominence, flourishing businesses, larger ministries, TV ministries, bigger buildings, peace with all men, favour with God, Man and ‘Satan’ if possible, freedom from all enemies, peace on every side, absolute heaven on earth, the list is inexhaustible. And with this mindset we have developed a ‘live for everything’ and ‘die for nothing’ approach to life.
Intrinsically there is nothing wrong with wanting or having material things, or living a nice life, but the more I observe the world we are in, the more I am convinced that there is much to die for, and need for much death to occur for the cause of Christ.
Sadly this isn’t happening because we are too tied to life and living. We quote that “Jesus came that we might have life and life more abundantly” forgetting that the fulfilment was borne out of the propagation of truth, misunderstanding, lies, treachery, envy, jealousy, hatred, rejection, mockery, humiliation, a very brutal beating, and ultimately a very painful and shameful death by way of crucifixion. I am concerned that as Christians we have nothing to die for and we don’t realise it.
I listen to world leaders, observe socio-economic and political trends in nations through out the world, especially in the west, I see the destruction of truth, justice, equity and all the values/truths that allow for the fulfilment of Gods plan for MAN.
I look at our churches, some birthing & hosting the most Christ-less, spineless, cowardly, spiritless, visionless, bunch of preachers, and misguided disciples than at any other time I have observed. Preachers who preach for a ‘live for everything die for nothing’ brand of Christianity, and are guilty of manufacturing the most unproductive bunch of tepid, weak, wishy-washy, loveless, avaricious, amoral and immoral religious people one can find anywhere.
We no longer preach the Christianity that causes us to embrace death to the extent that we embrace life, or truth to the extent that we embrace lies. We observe biblical codes only so that we can gain more in this life. Our education, wealth, prosperity, and our wonderfully prestigious socio-economic backgrounds serve only to boost our ratings in church and in society. Little wonder Jesus pronounced a woe unto the rich.
We disgustingly celebrate our despicable but supposedly glorious state in Christ, forgetting that we are naked and wretched (Rev3). We bow down to our self made idols. Preacher and congregation alike celebrating a false liberty, preaching a gospel that lacks truth & courage, selling a commodity called righteousness only so that we may gain good, or better standing with, and more blessing from god.
Our righteous deeds serve only as a down payment on more blessing and a lofty position in heaven assuming we get there. We have lost our relevance to god, to ourselves and to the world we live in. We are salt with no saltiness. Many of our churches are merely religious centres.
Some of our churches are no longer places of true worship, but mainly social centres, where we compare our latest blessings and prosperity levels, partake in symbolic religious activity, gain new ideas on how not to be like Jesus passed off as the gospel, and depart feeling blessed and highly favoured or flavoured.
For preachers our churches are business centres where people are used to further pastoral delusions under the banner of working for the kingdom. We are no longer empowered to serve Christ but to serve the Man Of God and his delusion often called the pastors vision, and on a good day, you will be misguided into a false salvation by an unsaved and misinformed preacher called and anointed by man and not by god.
Our churches (some), where any real quest for Christ and his truth is crushed, and those genuinely searching, branded rebellious, and put to death in their quest to find him. Our churches have become a place where the doctrine of man is more captivating than the truth of God. We no longer know the truth, show the way, or live the life. Most frightful of all we celebrate ourselves as Gods elect yet we are most void of him. We live in a day when all but Christ is alive in many of our churches. Many (not all) of our churches, (Inclusive of leaders and followers) are of the synagogue of Satan, claiming to be Jews, but are not (Rev 3:9).
The acquisition of a building is now touted as a mighty move of God. The most mediocre of church achievements is touted as a miracle of Jehovah. Yet men like Elijah shook a nation to the very core of its boots by the demonstration of God and his power. Many of our churches are merely godless, spiritless, chat-rooms. Pastor chats congregation listens.
Our preachers no longer work the works of God as Jesus did, Oh no! they have graduated from basic evangelism to 1st class jet setting, five star hotel staying, massive conference engagements with the ‘who is who’ of ministry. Ministry has been reduced to mere speaking engagements. God and Christianity are now on par with T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, O2 and 3. They are commodities we subscribe to through mandatory ‘monthly tariff’ popularly called the ‘tithe’, and, or, the ‘pay as you go’ option if you so desire, otherwise known as the free will offering whenever you attend.
Shocking still is the degree of loveless-ness found us whose secondary existence consists of attending church at least 3 times a week, discounting the myriad of third party church programs.
Sadly we don’t even listen to those who are truly sent by god to us to tell us much needed truth. Many are also too timid to tell the truth. We are no longer like the young man who got hold of a spear and dealt with evil in the camp thus ceasing gods judgement and preserving lives ( Numbers 25 :1 - 7). The approval of man is preferred to the approval of God. Man has become god, and God has become nothing to many of us today, but we go to church 2-3 times a week. Even the world now hates us because we hate Christ.
These problems partly stem from a dangerously imbalanced and often biblically inconsistent set of doctrines that creates in us an unhealthy attachment to life and living. I am not saying we should go looking for death, No!! But reading my bible I could not fail to observe the number of times that the scriptures stated how often they sought to lay hold of, harm, and kill Jesus (John 7 :1: 5 , 18: 8:37) (Matthew 26 :1-4) (Luke 22 :2). In Acts 9 : 23 reveals a plot to kill Saul a DISCIPLE of Jesus.
I could not get away from the fact that Jesus lived to die. His disciples (the apostles) were faced with real time imprisonment, whippings, beating and even death (Acts of the Apostles attests to this).
For some travelling preachers, travelling economy class is now akin to crucifixion, and not staying in a 5 star hotel, persecution. Today some of us preachers are no more than liars and thieves. Living large off the congregations contributions, and justifying it with scripture. When we are caught out we call it persecution.
If you are hounded or harassed for wrong doing, it isn’t persecution. I am not endorsing harassment or hounding either. Legitimate persecution is openly taking a stand for the truth in the face of a lie, or openly propagating the truth in the face of, or against a lie. That may mean standing against a government, church systems, an organisation, family or the general community.
Our church leaders celebrate when they come in contact with government officials or community leaders, as though it is a yardstick for greatness and success in God. We love the favour of highly placed people but we never boldly tell them the truth. Imagine the audacity of Jesus going to dinner and after the meal pronouncing woes on his pharisaic & legal hosts (Luke 11:37 -54). Today’s preachers will be gushing with inaccurate positive prophesy once fed.
I then ask whose disciples are we? Who is our lord? Which Jesus do we belong to? For if we indeed are the disciples of Jesus Christ of Nazareth then we must live like him, walk in his shoes, bear his message and suffer his fate. Paul prays that he might know him and the fellowship of his sufferings and the power of his resurrection. I don’t remember any church I know praying for the fellowship of his sufferings. I have heard the prayer for the power of his resurrection though.
We fail to understand that the one who is resurrected is the one who has died (died to self) for how can God resurrect the living.
Sadly enough all suffering is annihilated from our theology because God is a good God and all suffering is from the devil. Yet Jesus clearly tells us that in this life we will have persecutions inclusive of beatings, whippings, being cast out, even death for his names sake. Along with Satan we have cast out the truth of the life, message, death & resurrection of Jesus. We have cast out Christ. Death is of Satan, life is of God is our unspoken maxim.
Today I fear going to church, listening to Christian speakers, and watching preachers on supposed christian channels, lest that which I have now learnt of Christ be cast out of me. Oh that our ‘Men of God’ could raise the dead as successfully they raise money on the various telethon telecasts I have observed.
I can’t remember hearing of any of the pastors of our big churches going to jail because they healed someone or raised the dead in a hospital. Why aren’t we accused of turning the world upside down like Gideon? Why is the world so comfortable with us and why is Satan so comfortable with us? Where is the Christianity of truth, war and death? The Christianity that recognises truth, receives truth, propagates truth, and if need be suffers for and possibly dies for truth?
What is our public stance on gay issues, on immoral invasions, government corruption, where is our voice on abortion, euthanasia, oppression of weaker states by the strong, or any form of injustice, racism included?
I don’t imagine that John the Baptist was beheaded because he bought a new house, and Mercedes. I don’t imagine that Jesus was crucified because he got a promotion. I don’t imagine that Stephen was stoned to death because he was blessed with a wife. They all died because they took a righteous stand and declared Gods truth
We must realise that a legitimate life in Christ will and does unavoidably attract conflict/war/suffering and even death. I must also say that the first set of people who will seek to destroy you and the truth that you stand for will be the found in the church, especially pastors and ministers. We only have to look at the life of Jesus to understand this.
How many of us have taken a righteous stand and lost our jobs? How many have stood in the interest of truth and justice and lost anything? How many of us have really put our lives on the line for His names sake? How many will stand up to bosses, parents, friends, establishments against what is wrong or more importantly to establish what is right?
I put it to you, that the very peace that you enjoy came out of war and from the day you surrendered to Christ you signed up for war. War between God and satan, good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lie. Christianity is by no means a nice social religion, and even the life we enjoy or seek is a product of truth, war and death.
There can be no life without truth, without war & without death (ask Martin Luther King Jnr & Malcolm X). Little wonder that Jesus said he was the way the truth, way, and the life. There can be no life until there is a death and there can be no death unless we take a stand for truth. And we can’t stand for truth without willingness to embrace death. Most important of all we can’t embrace the truth unless there is SOUND and ACCURATE knowledge of it.
We must desist from the cross-less and Christ-less Christianity that we practice today, if we and others are to enjoy the fullness of God. We cannot establish the kingdom of God without recognising, embracing, and propagating truth, and the associated risks.
Its time to evaluate if, where, & why, we are in him. It time to choose between life which really is death, and death which really is life. We can save our lives and lose it or lose our lives and gain/save it.
Reverend Martin Luther King puts it this way. “A man is not fit to live if he has nothing to die for” Jesus said “greater love has no man than he should lay down his life for his friends”. Who have you died for lately? More importantly who has lived because you died?
For the cause of Christ I choose deathï¿½now thatï¿½s something to live for.