We are to keep idolatry from becoming a part of our lives, so that God does not remove His presence and power from our lives. Idolatry subtly creeps in, and we must be on guard against it. We should routinely look at where we are spending our time, talent, and resources. We should evaluate where God fits into the fabric of our lives. Just as idolatry can impact our personal lives it can also impact the church. We must actively be on alert in order to notice this subtle, but deadly, shift.
When local churches do not allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be at the center of all that they do they can get into error. This happens when the focus is not on lifting Jesus up but increasing membership, focusing on numbers – both financial and people, implementing programs that are not Christ centered to draw people, compromising the truth of the Word so as not to offend people, determining success by people’s praise, and so much more.
Sometimes I wonder:
Would Jesus even recognize the church as the church He established and died for?
When did we move from the power of preaching Jesus and Him crucified, to getting all our needs met? Not that He doesn't want our needs met, however, He wants us to want Him first and foremost. He wants a relationship with us.
When did it come about us at the expense of Him?
What happened to, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done?" (Matthew 6:10)
Why do we, the church, measure success as the world does? Numbers will never tell the story and can be misleading. Think about Jesus feeding 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish! (See John 6:1-14)
Why don’t we see small churches who are focused on Jesus as successful?
Has the church lost sight of its purpose?
Where’s the unity? Where’s the love? Why aren’t we all preaching and teaching the same message? Do we really want Jesus’ Kingdom to come or our own? I am so disturbed by what I see as organized religion that I want to distance myself from it, but never from God. My relationship, being His disciple, is where my heart is and will always stay. While there is a business aspect of the church it should never be at the expense of His Word or His people. Jesus was about relationships.
The church is a trillion-dollar industry and right within a lot of churches, big and small, are people who have needs, financial, health, emotional, and more, that could be met by the church, yet the church continues, in some cases, to ignore those needs. Yet, the first church, outlined in the Book of Acts, had all things in common. They took care of each other. Maybe, we just need to go back to basics – love. Somehow that got lost in the shuffle of chasing numbers and being successful! When you love you can never be okay with your brother or sister being in need.
This is how easily idolatry can infect the church, taking your eyes off Jesus and the people He died for, and focusing on messages and programs that are not Kingdom minded but will fill seats – making you bigger and more successful. I have to believe that this is not how Jesus defines success.
My heart breaks, yet I pray:
"Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 AMPC)
And maybe someday God's people will live this fully.
Be Encouraged! ❤
(Updated From the Vault of LWM)