It’s getting to be too much. I’m going to stick my neck out on this one. How low will it go to wear the “Christian” label? Halos more vapor than substance? Hmmm… For a clue please see http://rare.us/story/say-grace-before-meals-get-15-percent-off/
What is the Apostolic admonition? What would Jesus Christ say? Seems to me I recall Him kicking the moneychangers out of the temple. He couldn’t be bribed into or paid to pray. Or even if some religious leader challenged Him to work a miracle. No, not even there. Not even for 15% discount on temple sacrifices.
Where did His power come from? Directly from the Father! If He didn’t hear it from the Father, He didn’t do it or say it. That simple.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who… made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant… he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites… that they may have glory of men… that thine alms be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest… enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:2-6)
Being a Christian is not about being seen of men when doing our praying or connecting with the Father. It’s not about having a plaque on the hospital wall or a wing of a building donated in your name. That’s what hypocrites do to cover up their other sometimes unmentionable activities. It’s not about getting a dinner discount because the restaurant wants to reward an open show of piety.
It’s about putting on the holy Mind of Jesus Christ – humility, not seeking reputation, taking on the form of a servant. Nothing diminishes ego, self, and pride like “invisibility”.
The Way of the Kingdom of Heaven, as we can see, is the polar opposite of the kingdoms of this world. Let’s ponder this in our hearts and minds.
If I had to pick two words that describe the “mind”, the attitude, the thinking of Jesus Christ, they would be humility and surrender.
However, what does the mind of the world look like?
Me, myself, and I… Win!… I love money, notoriety, fame… Follow your heart, your dreams, your “self”… Put yourself first… Think it into being… Think and grow rich… Love yourself first… “I love money and it loves me”… If it feels good, do it… And last but not least in my list of favorites: I am God! (You have to be joking!)
News flash! The message of Jesus Christ is not about being noticed, powerful, or rewarded, which are not the lifestyle, mindset, or world view of Jesus or His disciples, then or now.
But I drift afar from my original focus. However, it you think it through, it’s not difficult to see the connections. If you are of the world, it’s all about being seen and rewarded by the world. That can manifest as a religious front – praying in a restaurant or being known for how spiritually great thou art by “good deeds”. You may be kidding yourself.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
“…Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
How can His will be known personally to us unless we go into that closet and shut the door for a meaningful heart to heart with Him (as well as the spirit of the written Word)? Jesus was often out in the wilderness, or alone on a mountaintop when He prayed. Even during His agony in Gethsemane, He distanced Himself from the others to pray! And what was the content of His prayer? “Not my will, but Thy will be done!”
St. John reminds us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Could it be that desiring to be seen praying in public (let alone being rewarded for it) is a subtle way in which we unwittingly love the world – being seen, being noticed for “being spiritual”? It’s well worth asking.
It is so easy, especially in today’s political climate, to become ensnared in spiritual pride, to want to be seen of men as “Christian”, which in many cases unfortunately can be seen for what it sometimes is by the world, as it cries, “Hypocrite!” Seriously, it’s the same old fig leaf, and we’re not hiding anything or fooling anybody – except maybe ourself.
Jesus relationship with the Father was firmly plugged in, turned on, and tuned in. It was direct connection.
Many will counter, “But I’m not Jesus.” However, this is the reason He began pouring out and anchoring His Holy Spirit into all flesh at Pentecost – so we can let His mind be in us!!! “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14)
Do we want healing in our country? Then the salt of the earth need to be salty, to be His preservers of His Good! Here’s the answer: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) We need to pray, not my will, but Thy will be done. And listen… “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5) That’s His promise!
Ask and keep on asking… in that secret place within. He has the answers, but are we seeking Him and His will with all our hearts, or just asking Him to bless our ideas? He is not my “co-pilot”, but always the Captain.
This is well worth ferreting out. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)