Romans chapter 16:17-18 “Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people's faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.”
I have traveled around the world, not literally, but I have been to four continents and have worshipped on all of them. Some countries are so secular, religion is a two times a year event, yet in other countries there is an authentic faith which most of us would not recognize. During these trips I have not only noticed the faith there, but it has put a mirror up to my own in the USA, and here is what I see.
1 1. We have a consumer based worship.
2 2. We have an ethnocentric superiority faith.
3 3. We have an apathetic faith.
4 4. We have messed up joy vs. happy
When it comes to worship in the US, we have a mindset of “What have you done for me lately?” or “What do I get out of it?” mentality. We want our worship to be wrapped in a nice hour long package with singing, preaching, and praying. If we go too long, we have to beat the crowd so we do not have to wait in line for lunch. What happened to worshipping the all-powerful God who gave us the gift of salvation? What’s been done for me lately, what do I get out of it? Eternal life with God in heaven and not separation from Him in Hell.
When it comes to our faith, we believe in the superiority of our country (and it is the greatest country in the history of the world) so much that we believe through our wonderful giving, we go and minister to these poor, underdeveloped peoples. It is amazing when I go to these “poor” places that when I return I have a different perspective on my faith. Maybe, just maybe, when I go to minister to them, they are ministering to me.
“Maybe I will get up and go to church, maybe I won’t.” “Maybe I will be involved, maybe I won’t.” “Maybe today I will decide to make my faith be uncomfortable, and maybe I won’t.” We are comfortable in this great country and we make decisions that many others cannot such as what types of food to eat, or what type of house to own. That creates a mentality that we rely on ourselves and by gosh, don’t we deserve one day a week where we get to sleep in? What if Jesus had decided to sleep in on that day at Calvary?
Finally, in our country, we often do not have a Godly definition of happiness. We believe that our happiness comes from what we do, what we have, or what we can afford (or not) and since that feeling is fleeting, we constantly feel the need to fill that hole with the next best thing. Yet, in poorer countries they have a joy we lack because they do not worry about the next best thing, they are just trying to survive the now. They have a relatively permanent feeling of joy vs. our need for happiness…a need that is always just out of our reach for an extended amount of time.
We talk every Sunday how blessed we are, and it is true. By being born in this country, we have hit the economic jackpot. But what do we do with those blessings? With more money and power comes more responsibility. You can give more to show your appreciation for the life God has given you, you can volunteer, you can go on a mission trip, or you can just be here every Sunday with a great attitude.
And that’s what is great about our country. We have the freedom to do what we want and more than likely the resources to do it. But that freedom has been paid for with a price, a huge price. Yes, our soldiers and their commitment, but what about Jesus on the cross for you.