Reading about Israel during the time Eli was their priest makes me think about so many of our modern day churches. The Jews had been living by their own standards. I Samuel 2:30 says God would not honor them because they didn’t take him seriously. In fact, he said, “I will despise those who think lightly of me.”
But when Israel was being defeated by the Philistine army, they ran to get the Ark of the Covenant and tried to use it to save them from their enemies. The Jews rejoiced when they saw the Ark coming into camp. The Philistines were terrified because they knew about Israel’s God.
But the battle continued and 30,000 Jewish soldiers died that day. Parading the Ark around did nothing to win their battle.
Today many have devised a religion by their own standards. They portray God as a buddy, as a tolerant god who accepts all manner of good intentions, who loves people, who turns a bind eye to sin, who rewards positive thinking with health and wealth. And when things get difficult these people hold up the name “Christian” like it’s some magic potion.
In both examples, people put the cart before the horse. The horse being repentance, humbling oneself before a holy God, accepting his forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.
We cannot preach God’s love at the exclusion of his holiness and expect him to bless us. We cannot eliminate the word “sin” from our vocabulary because it offends. We cannot tolerate any side-step to God when Jesus clearly says HE is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and NO ONE goes to the Father except through him.
Wearing the name “Christian” is meaningless unless we take God seriously. My prayer is that each of us will spend time in his Word, in thinking about what we read, in praying about what God would have us do in light of his Word. I pray that we would bow before our Holy God and turn from sin so that he can bless us with heavenly blessings.
Then, once we have dealt with our sin and accepted God’s grace, let’s get out there and fight the battles, defeat Satan, draw people to Jesus. That’s when wearing the name of “Christian” means something real.