There was a time when I was not clear on where my responsibilities ended, and the Lord’s began. I would hear things like “work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.” Thing is, this saying does not take God’s will into consideration. If it isn’t God’s will for you, it doesn’t matter how hard you pray, it won’t happen. I used to attend one of those churches that treated God like a genie. Let them tell it, they were claiming His promises! But there is a difference between claiming His promises and inserting one’s selfish desires into the text. How can you tell the difference? How do you know when someone is speaking Christianese? For those unfamiliar with the term Christianese. This is the language of the gospel. There are people who speak the language but do not belong to the body. They “amen,” “mhmm”, and shout in all the right places. They attend church, serve, and some of them lead, but do not be fooled, they are unbelievers. Recall the parable of the Tares and the Wheat in Matthew chapter 13.
Full disclosure, I’ve spoken Christianese. My testimony is similar to that of the Prodigal Son: I was in my father’s house and decided the pleasures of the world were more desirable; ergo, I left to pursue myself. While I was gone, living my best life, I never forgot the language. When a Christian was in the midst, I knew what to do, but I wasn’t living the life. Likewise, when I decided to come back home and landed at this sensational church, I found myself saying things that I knew people would respond to rather than the truth. These people were not interested in understanding what the bible said they were interested in what they wanted it to say.
When reading the word of God, it is imperative to allow scripture to interpret scripture. The Word speaks for itself, there is no need to read yourself into it. What is there is there and nothing else. We are not to read the bible like a novel we are to study it and believers study it for their entire believing lives.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” Anyone can quote scripture. Jehovah’s Witnesses quote scripture, false prophets quote scripture, and the devil quotes scripture. Knowing God’s Word by heart does not mean it is in your heart.
The difference is in the fruit. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35. People mess up all the time. We all do bad things and say bad things. We are sinners. A true believer lives on his or her knees in a constant state of repentance. But true believers grow. It isn’t the absence of sin, it is our attitude towards it. The key is how we relate to one another. We are good to each other because God has been good to us. God said that if we love Him, we will obey Him. Do you love Him?
I was on the phone with my mother one day. I don’t remember what I said, but I was speaking to her about the inner-workings of this sensational church I was attending at the time. She listened, quietly. When I was done, she asked me about the doctrine of the church; I was strangely offended. Why would anyone be offended by that? Turns out, my fealty was not to the gospel but to that church. I was so caught up in the feeling of doing something right. This is dangerous and a whole other conversation. As believers, our allegiance is to God. To Him and Him alone. God said that He is a jealous God, and no one comes before Him. Yet, there are people who are all about their church and their pastor, and their youth group. They quote their pastor more than scripture. If the pastor says it, they believe it. It’s all about them. There was a time when I was reading a bible passage to someone that directly contradicted the teaching in this same church and the member would not listen. They said, “Christine, I’ve seen it.” Some people cannot see the truth, and some people will not see the truth. It’s frustrating but remember there will be people who the Lord will tell to depart from Him. He will tell them He never knew them. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for that. The Word of God is the leading authority in my life, and Lord willing, it always will be.
My friends, guard yourselves against the enemy’s schemes. Don’t make it easy for him. Read your bible and pray the Lord give you understanding. When you gave your life, you gave it to Jesus. Submit to his authority over your life. Do what The Word says to do-- all of it. He will never lead you wrong. As for knowing where my responsibility ends and His begins, it’s clear: I am to follow Jesus. God’s position has not changed nor will it. There are lots of snazzy catchphrases and sharp sayings. Don’t allow them to obscure the purity of the gospel. God’s Word is crystal clear and does not need our modern spin. Ask yourself if you are a true believer. If so, how do you know? Does the life you live in the light as well as in the dark testify to that? Or, do you just speak the language? Live on catchphrases and attend all the functions? Is your relationship personal? Yes, you know the Lord, but does He know you?