It’s a shame too many people have been practicing social distancing from God because there is no other who loves us so much even though sometimes His love is difficult to understand when we don’t get our way.
I know I did. Before I was saved, I attended church, camp meetings, praise gatherings, and more. In today’s culture you can surround yourself with Christian spirituality (and some aberrations which seem like Christianity) but never know the God who is Christ.
There I was in body, but my spirit was mine and not surrendered to God in any form or fashion except by appearances.
There are lots of reasons people practice social distancing from God and His people. Some just don’t believe. Some believe but don’t want to hear the words which require change. Some don’t want to surrender to the fellowship of church attendance because people have hurt them in the past. Some don’t because it’s difficult for other reasons. Some, like I was then, don’t want to disappoint others so it is easier to pretend by attending.
Usually, the biggest attendance in worship will be at Christmas, Easter, or when a relative’s child is dedicated or christened. Many recently missed an opportunity to gather together in person with Easter, the time of celebration about the resurrection of Jesus.
Even if we had been together then, most likely within the crowd gathered, whether they were just visiting or regular attendees, there would be a special class of people. What distinguishes this class is the same thing that distinguished the Pharisees. I call them “Show-and-Tell Christians.”
They are the ones who talk the talk but don’t necessarily walk the walk for the right reason, which should be their love for God, not man. Sure, we all fall at times, but the difference is when we’ve socially distanced ourselves from God, we might “talk” but really have no desire for the walk.
Oh, you think this is hypocrisy?
Maybe it is, but as I read somewhere before, “We tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.” God’s judgment pulls from the heart and the hands to see where we are in obedience. Within the Bible we see James and others discussing faith, works, and faith with works.
To be saved without change is to be self-deceived and not saved. It is riskier than juggling knives blindfolded when you can’t even juggle. Your eternal soul is at stake if you are one of these. If you practice any of the forms of social distancing from God, you are one of these.
Even so, God can use these exposures to His Word, assuming we are being exposed to His Word. If you want to experiment, consider this at the next sermon you hear: How much Scripture was covered? How deep did it go? By deep, I mean we should consider if it goes into original meanings, context, and where those meanings appear elsewhere. I don’t mean was there a cute story attached.
Our story interconnects with God’s story, and God invites us to join in it to work with Him. Not for our purposes, but for His. Yes, God wants what is best for you, but we forget that when we surrender to God we are surrendering to His purposes.
We can pray for easier, better, faster, stronger, more of this, and less of that. However, what if God decides that He wants us to have something where the pain of now brings in something greater than we can imagine for His kingdom? What if we get no benefit from this pain but the advancement of His Kingdom?
That is surrender. Not “do my will,” but “Thy will be done” even if we must decrease so He can increase (John 3:30).
Would you want to be one legally dragged out of home (Acts 8:3), in some cases stoned (Acts 7:58), facing threats to be murdered (Acts 9:1-13, 21) all because of and just because you love Jesus?
You might not (and I don’t blame you!), but where would Christianity be without the writings of Paul? Did Paul, self-described as “the worst of sinners,” think he had to do the work of all the Christians who could have shared their faith? We can’t be certain. Even so, what if we could work with the fervor or zeal of Paul in our lives for the sake of others’ souls?
This fervor or zeal for the Lord is what we are called to be and do both in and through surrender (Romans 12:9-21). We love God and do our best to live in peace with men so, either through us or through some other plan we don’t see, God will overcome evil with good. Even if that good isn’t His mercy but His righteous judgment.
We just need to remember our pain isn’t necessarily God’s judgment against us. Yes, we should pray if there is a lesson to learn or if repentance is required instead. However, sometimes the lesson is trust and obey because His Kingdom will grow.
Life has pain, and the certainty of death is something few dwell on, yet nothing is more important to consider than the afterlife which is decided by what we decide in this life.
If you socially distance yourself from God now, He will socially distance himself from you for eternity. There will be hell to pay for the sins you could’ve washed away with a surrender to Jesus.