If I were to be truly honest, I must admit that I would be hard pressed to see any difference between how ‘American Christians’ and worldly people think, act and behave. Mostly what I see, and what God must see is more similarities than differences in how people view life, work and their families. The heartbreaking reality is that what the vast majority of Christians, think separates them from their worldly friends is in reality, nothing more than religion.
Maybe you know the two people I am about to discuss, perhaps you see one of them in the mirror every morning.
Two people show up at work on a given day at the same time. They both drive the same make and model car, wear pretty much the same clothes and have the same plate lunches (that ‘s a Hawaii thing) during their lunch break. These two people go to their jobs and do them equally well. At the end of the day, they clock out and drive home to houses that look the same, on streets that are the same.
Both of these people sit down to eat dinner with their family (okay, probably not) and then spend the evening watching television or playing on their computers. Sometime late in the evening, they brush their teeth, and fall into bed. With the rise of a new morning, their alarms go off at the same time and they crawl out of bed, and begin the whole process again.
These two people do this same routine five days per week, 50 weeks a year. They both receive their paycheck every Friday for equal amounts. On Saturday, they both spend time watching their kids play soccer or baseball and on Saturday night, they go out with their wives to a movie, and maybe dinner.
The only difference between these two people comes on Sunday when one of them drags the family to church (or is drug to church, by his spouse) and the other goes to play golf.
The one who goes to church spends most of his time dreaming about the golf course where he would rather be, while the one playing golf does not think at all about missing church. By Sunday afternoon, both of these people settle down to watch the Steelers once again beat the Ravens (yes, I am a Steeler fan) as they pig out on pizza and nachos.
Here are my questions: Is the person in the above example that went to church on Sunday a Christian JUST because he went to church?
Is the person who played golf on Sunday automatically a heathen because he did not go to church?
Is one's Christianity really determined by how one spends a couple of hours per week?
What really is the difference between these two people other than religion?
God did not so love the world that He gave His only Son to promote a new religion. Jesus did not lay down His life so that two thousand years later people would show up at a building once a week and somehow magically be His people by doing so. The Holy Spirit was not given, so that it could be forgotten and stuffed into a closet until we are on our deathbed.
Christianity is a relationship between a person and their Savior and has little, if anything, to do with the carrying out of traditions or the showing up at meetings or the singing of songs or even the praying of certain prayers. All these religious things mean nothing unless there is a real, true spiritual relationship in a person's heart with Jesus.
When the time comes when the two people mentioned in the story above kneel before God, I would not be a bit surprised to see them both have the same eternal lot as the other. God does not like hypocrites and He certainly is not interested in people just going through motions and assuming they are His own. God desires our whole heart and it is our heart that He will use to determine our eternal destiny.
There are 168 hours in a week. Isn't God worthy of more than just ONE of those hours?