My observation of you and conversations with you the last time we were together have prompted me to write you this letter. Before I go on, I need you to know that my aim is not to be judgmental; I am writing this because of the love I have for you and the fear and sadness that your ignorance of these things causes me. As a professing Christian, you should know:
Christian worship is different from other religions
In idol worship, a talisman is needed to show under whose protection a person is, it is not so in Christianity. You don’t need to have any physical emblem to hold on to or show, to prove you are of God (Deut 4:15-16). You do not need olive oil, ‘holy water’, a handkerchief or a crucifix as a talisman to ward off evil spirits. That cannot keep you safe.
The Lord Jesus Christ has done all the work that is needed for us to have fellowship with God; our part is to believe (Matthew 11: 28-30). Believing, that for Christ’s sake, God will forgive us our rebellion against Him and enable us to live a life that pleases Him, that is all we are to do. All you have to do is believe. It’s so simple that it almost feels wrong to us which is why we try to incorporate elements.
Worship in Christianity is not just what happens when we gather with other believers on Sunday or during mid-week activities; Christian worship is the way you live your everyday life (Romans 12:1). The way you think, speak and act at work, when you’re alone, on the street, in your neighbourhood (Colossians 3:17)- God is always there so He is always to be worshipped, our lives are to be submitted to Him.
The way God expects us to live, is to please Him in all that we do – “…whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:30). It is not too much, considering what He has done for us.
You are free
You have a wrong view of who God is. The LORD God is not stronger than the devil, by this I mean, there is no comparison- they are not two equals fighting for supremacy. I know you know the devil is a created thing, so how can you think that something God made can wrestle with or overpower Him? God is not in constant battle with Satan to prevent Satan harming you; as a Christian you have been rescued from the power of sin and darkness (Colossians 1:22). The power that sin and darkness had over you was that you couldn’t desire or seek God because they blinded and held you (Ephesians 2:1-8). Then the devil could use you as a tool for sin. The devil and his power have been defeated once and for all- only those in the kingdom of darkness are Satan’s playthings because they sin against God.
That victory was won for you when Christ paid the penalty (death) for your sin -to God- on the cross. We are rescued by God, from God, because of God. All of your safety is in the God of heaven who can look on you in mercy because the blood of Jesus Christ has washed away your sin which was going to destroy your soul. If you submit to God, your soul is secure for eternity and your life on earth is in His hands for His glory.
Seek God for His own sake
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life ?And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6:25-33
The passage above does not in any way suggest that God will make you rich because you worship Him. In context of what our Lord Jesus was teaching, it tells you not to be anxious about your needs because God will give you everything you need- not want, need. Would you say you do not have food, shelter, or clothing?
You should not let chasing your ‘wants’ distract you from pleasing God, nor should you try to please God because you want your ‘wants’ met. Do not try to trade obedience for answers – obedience does not entitle us to God’s favour;
“Now which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him after he comes in from the field, ‘Come immediately and recline at the table to eat’? On the contrary, will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:7-10
Pay particular attention to verse 10- that should be how you live.
Prayer is surrendering
The Lord Jesus teaches us that the father knows what we need (Matthew 6:32) but then he tells us to ask God. This tells us that we pray to show that we are not trusting in our power to have anything we need- physical or spiritual.
Jesus Christ is God, and the example He gave us in all His prayers was asking, He never spoke as if it all depended on His strength- though He could have- it was a lesson for us. Decreeing, declaring, taking authority, confessing and other such practices all mean that you are trusting in yourself, your doggedness and the strength of your will to bring about the thing you are praying for/about- a humble dependence on God for our needs is characterised by asking, pleading. Asking according to His will, asking with His word, just asking because God does not owe us, nor does He serve us; HE IS LORD!
It does not end here
What is the ultimate purpose of your life? What do you look forward to the most? A life of comfort on earth or an eternity of faithfully worshipping God? The Bible clearly tells us how we ought to live in this earth.
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
The passage expects everyone who calls himself/herself a Christian to look away from this world and focus on the world to come. When our life ends here on earth, our real life starts in eternity, shouldn’t we prepare well for that life that will never end? Shouldn’t that be our focus instead of things that will pass away?
A Christianity that keeps your eyes on the earth and the things you have or don’t have here does you a great disservice; you don’t need to be rich to serve God nor do you need to be poor to need Him- everyone does. What truly matters is that we are right with Him and our lives are pleasing to Him here on earth.
Therefore, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17
I really want you to understand that the focus of a Christian, who is practising true religion is God Most High, not yourself.
Your life on earth is the shortest part of your existence; what’ll happen after you die is of utmost importance, so your life’s focus shouldn’t be on what you have here.
True Christianity means you have put your faith in Christ to deliver you from the guilt, power and consequence of sin and now live a new life in Him- a new life where He is at the centre and of utmost importance. And your greatest desire is to be with Him-sinless- forever.
Can you say that is true of you?