God is speaking through Jeremiah concerning those prophets who claim to speak for God – but don’t. (Jeremiah 23) These liars are preaching a health and wealth gospel at the same time Jeremiah is telling them how angry God is, and how God is going to punish them for their disobedience.
The false prophets tell them they are ok: “Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!… No harm will come your way.” (23:17)
The thing is, God’s Word is not a “feel good” book. In fact, in verse 29 of the same chapter, God asks, “Does not my word burn like fire?… Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?”
I think that’s why there are so many different religions out there. I mean, who wants to worship a God who makes you feel bad about yourself? So let’s make up a theology that tells us how great we are, how worthy, how powerful we are in and of ourselves to become better and better. We want to believe we are ok just the way we are. If you listen, you’ll recognize those lies in some of the most popular churches spewed by some of the most famous preachers of our time. Maybe even in your home town, in tiny churches, that go unnoticed expect for the faithful few who attend.
But have you ever experienced that heavy blow that comes from the realization that you are wrong? Have you felt the convicting fire of the Holy Spirit over unconfessed sin? It’s not comfortable, is it? It might even hurt your feelings, big time.
When you are at that point, you have a choice. You can tell yourself you’re ok, you can repeat a mantra to make yourself feel better, you can self-medicate, or even learn to live with the discomfort. Or you can accept what Jesus died to give you.
Then you can know the spiritual health that comes from having a pure heart. You can enjoy the wealth of having the God of Creation living in you, the sure hope of eternity with him. No false theology can come close to it!
So I challenge you read the Bible for yourself. But get ready to have your feelings hurt. If you ask God to speak to you through his Word, he will. He will tell you you are lost without him. He will tell you you are a sinner. He will tell you you are wicked, self centered, unclean. But he will also tell you about his love and his grace. He will tell you about how he went to the cross to pay for your sins. And he will ask you to come to him, to say you’re sorry and mean it, to allow him to turn your life around…
And bless you beyond what you could ever ask or even think.
God, thank you for tearing down all my defenses, for making me look at myself the way you see me. I am a sinner. There is nothing good in me. And I have to tell you, that hurts my feelings a little. But, God, I also want to thank you for lifting me up, for forgiving me when I asked you to, for blessing me with yourself. Thank you for your Word that cuts… and heals. Thank you for you!