This is a town with a church on almost every street corner. Every Sunday and every “Christian” festival day these churches are packed with worshipers. People’s speech is punctuated with “God is good”, “I am so blessed” and “if it is the Lord’s will”. Talking about God all the time. Why then, do their lives show no fruit of the Spirit? Why are people plagued by illness and death, financial ruin, children on drugs, or living in sin, unmarried? Why is there so much robbery and murder taking place? Why is this town so spiritually dead?
Not only is this town visited by all these things, but drought, exceptional heat during summer, cold spells that do not usually hit this part of the country, not to mention severe and out of control felt fires. Why? Let’s go to the Bible and see why Israel endured the same troubles. All through the Old Testament, the Israelites tested God with unbelief and disobedience from Exodus to the last prophet. The prophets spelled it out: turn back to the Lord, keep His commandments and He will turn back to you. Worship the Lord only and He will bless you with all abundance.
But what do we do? Do we learn from all that? It seems not. We carry on in the ways of Israel and live in sin; we disobey every commandment going our own way and worship other gods. What gods? The goddess of luck, gambling away our wages, young and old disregard marriage and just shack up with no commitment to the partner, pleasure and substance abuse has become normal life style. Worst of all is that we teach our children to do the same. We laugh when they get drunk, we wink proudly when they commit fornication, we cheat and take bribes; we steal and commit fraud, trying to fill our bottomless pockets. When disaster strikes, we blame global warming, the government and the economy.
But who is really to be blamed? Where are our spiritual leaders in this? Why don’t they give us the answers? Not the answers we want to hear, but those that will save us. Is it because they have become as lukewarm as their followers? Is it because they fear to tell the truth? Who will remain in their churches if they tell people to repent and turn back to true worshipping the living God? No one wants to hear that old story of repentance anymore. People want to hear how blessed they are, how God loves them and how they can do whatever they want, because God forgives. Anyone with a different message is weird and considered a fanatic.
Truth is, God does forgive, but not without repentance. “Stop sinning” is the words of Jesus that we need to hear and obey. But we’d much rather quote the “wise” of pagan religions and cults. At the annual meeting of an organisation I attended a short while ago, where the CEO constantly refer to the goodness of God, the Dalai Lama was quoted, J K Rolling, a writer of witchcraft books for children was quoted, an ancestor worshiper, who himself has become and idol, was quoted; not one word about Jesus. Pagan gods are praised for their “wise” sayings, we look to other religions for solutions to our problems and quote their sayings. Yet, when mentioning Jesus, everyone goes quiet. Talking about God is OK, as long as His name is not mentioned.
Well, who is this God they are talking about? Is it really the God, creator of everything that exists? Is it really the Father of all who believe in Jesus? It seems every other god has become acceptable, except the One and only God Jesus Christ who died to pay our debts with His blood. The one who desires for us to be with Him in His kingdom forever, if we would only believe. Why is it so difficult to believe in Jesus? Is it because of the ugliness of His suffering for us? Is it because we refuse to be held accountable? Is it because other religions are more “acceptable”? Is it because we cannot worship without seeing idol images or follow rituals? Is it because we prefer to earn salvation for ourselves so that we don’t owe everything to the only One who have already made it all available to us? Have we become so proud that we cannot acknowledge and accept the free gift of eternal life, but want to do it ourselves? Or does the answer lie in all of the above? Everyone has to decide for himself.
As for me and my house, we will submit under the authority of Jesus in whom we believe as the only Saviour and Redeemer because we know He is the only One we can fully trust. The only One who offers hope; the only One who loves us and does not ask for sacrifices and good works to earn His favour, because He has already done it all for us and expects only faith and obedience in return for glory unimaginable in His Kingdom for ever! All glory, praise, honour and worship to Jesus, the only wise God!