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        Devotion to God
I just don't understand how people (ie. the September 11 hijackers) can be SO devoted to false religions that they will give their lives in the name of a holy war, and yet many Christians (myself included) have trouble committing to church attendance. It really puts me to shame. Doesn't the One True God deserve better? 
Sunday, October 21, 2001 1:26:22 PM   sswan
      re:Devotion to God   
Psalm 119 [along with many other passages] makes it clear that as we genuinely seek God, obedience results. Our problem, I believe, is the same as C.S. Lewis noted a half century ago: "We are far too easily pleased." If we would only seek Him the most, love Him the most, then obedience would be as natural as a child who longs to please her parents. If Christians can realize that we don't "work" for His approval, but we should desire His approval, then we would be 1000 steps beyond where we are.

I highly recommend John Piper's Desiring God (and all his other works for that matter). That book helped me truly recognize how integral it is to my faith that I hunger for Him!

BTW sswan ... see if you can guess who this is before checking out my info! 
Tuesday, October 23, 2001 2:11:07 PM intheword
      re:Devotion to God   
That's what you get from people who are taught that any deed or act on our part in serving God is a legalistic attitude, an attempt to earn our salvation. So we all sit back, believing that Jesus did it all for us, so we don't have to do a single thing for him, because if we do, then we fall from grace. So everyone then only believes that Christ died for their sins. No need to repent of them, no need to change our life here and now, because our hearts, minds and conduct will be changed when we get to heaven. Repenting of our sin is impossible for us, as we are so taught, so why bother changing at all. It's this damnable doctrine of being saved IN our sin instead of FROM our sin that has corrupted the majority of Christendom, and has resulted in the most despicable hypocrisy, corruption, lawlessness and selfishness.

The Muslims, of course, are taught that dying as a martyr for Allah is a 100% guarantee of being in paradise. This doesn't sound that unfamiliar. The crusaders during the inquisition were told that dying for the cause of destroying all the "heretics" would either lessen their time in purgatory, or prevent them from being in purgatory altogether, and would directly enter heaven.

It's unfortunate that most Christians are taught that obedience to God is legalism, because it involves us doing something for Him. This is so despicable. We are expected to be upright citizens in keeping the laws of our own government, and if we break any of these laws, we are looked upon as criminals, and are sentenced to the appropriate punishment. Yet, if we even dare to obey the law of the Almighty God, whose law is of a higher standard than any manmade laws, whose government will one day be the government of the entire universe, we are branded as legalistic, hellbound heretics by the professed followers of Christ, and we are in for an eternally worse punishment than that of a mere earthly prison sentence. This fact puts me to far more shame than the fact that people have trouble committing to church attendance.

If you believe that obedience to God's commandments is an act of legalism, then why be ashamed of people not attending church? We don't need to attend church to be saved. Hey, we don't even need to worship the one true God alone to be saved, nor do we have to respect and revere His name, nor remember the sabbath, nor honor our parents, nor respect other people's property, lives, spouses and trust, nor be content with what we have. Doing any of these things would be an attempt to earn our salvation (so we are taught), so heaven forbid that we do such things here and now, or else we're damned to hell. We'll be doing all these things when we get to heaven, but not here and now.

For now (as we are so taught) we are stuck in the miry pit of sin, and we'll have to just get used to it, until Jesus returns. Then there will be no more deadness, hypocrisy, backbiting, corruption, pettiness, and childishness in heaven. Forget about there being any total devotion to Christ as our Lord, for our lord is sin here and now, but Christ is merely our Savior, who has saved us from the penalty of sin, but not from sin itself.
We will be saved from sin itself when we get to heaven.

Sigh....Please note that not for a single second will I ever believe such theological drivel as stated above, but this is what the majority of Christians are taught, whether they wish to admit it or not.

If you want to see a change in church, then stop believing in such garbage as "only believe". James says that the demons believe, and they tremble. Yes, there IS more to being saved than just believing in Jesus. It's also following Him, obeying Him and serving Him.

May God have mercy on us if we believe that obeying Christ is legalism. 
Tuesday, October 23, 2001 6:51:40 AM kim varner
      re:Devotion to God   
Our devotion to God to me is about becoming more like Mary rather than Martha. Martha does represent legalism. She is an example that I will work, but the motive is about showing what a wonderful hostess Martha was. Mary on the other hand is about grace. Maryís motive is Jesus.
We can do all we want to show our devotion to God. If the motive is about ourselves, I think we may as well not have bothered. Or at least the reward is only received here on earth. On the other hand if we are motivated because of our love for Christ, our actions will have nothing to do with ourselves. It will be all about Him. He truly can be glorified. And as Christians that should be what our purpose isóto glorify God.
Salvation can not be earned in any way. Salvation is our gift from God. No matter how hard we work at it, all those works will be burned in the fire. Salvation is about faith, not works.
When we realize how totally undeserving we are, what a loving God we are honored to serve, then hopefully we will be motivated with the right motives to serve Him. It is about Him not about us.
A child has a choice, they can obey their parents because they fear the punishment, or they can obey their parents because they love them and want to honor them. I suppose that they can also obey in hopes of climbing the ladder to acceptance. I was a child and worked out of performanceóguess whatóit didnít work. It is no different for we as Christians. Our performance doesnít impress GodóHe desires our love, praise, worship, honor, respect from a pure heart not corrupted with self.
Church attendance isnít about making points with God, itís about fellowship. Itís about taking time to worship God. Itís about getting an opportunity to use the gifts that God has given us to build one another up so God will be glorified. Itís about allowing God the opportunity to bless us.
It seems to me that obeying Godís laws benefits me. If I meditate on His word I draw closer to Him. I can understand and grow in my walk with Him. If I donít steal, I donít go to jail, if I donít kill, Iím not faced with prison or the death penalty. If I donít get a tattoo or pierce my body, I donít have to worry about AIDS or Hepatitis C. If I love my neighbor as myself, I donít live in strife. If I pray, I can communicate with the One who knows all. Focusing on obeying laws brings the focus back to me. Our focus has to remain on Jesus. Without Him we can do nothing. Iíve yet to meet anyone who doesnít understand grace that is living a fulfilled life. 
Tuesday, October 23, 2001 12:47:19 AM joy
      re:Devotion to God   
Amen Sswan! There is no doubt that our God is worthy of far more. We do need to humble ourselves, repent, and begin traveling the road that God intended. Thanks for the reminder! 
Sunday, October 21, 2001 11:49:23 PM joy
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