Modern-day Christianity has sold us on a huge lie. It has changed the course of this nation. It has changed the landscape of our Christian culture. It has changed me. It is a sobering thing to think about. And one that we should truly be aware of and fight against with all that is within us. Here it is:
Salvation exists to give ME a purpose.
Ummm, really? I thought salvation was for the purpose of saving sinners from eternal hell. That I realize that I, in and of myself, have nothing good in me to offer anyone, especially God. There is nothing I can do or say or be that makes me acceptable to Almighty God. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
You may say, “Well, I believe that.”. Yes, so do I. But here are five ways this lie has crept into our lives (at least from my observation).
1) I can do what I want because Jesus wants me to be happy.
That is just not true. There is nothing in scripture that says Jesus wants me to be happy. In fact, I would say the opposite is true…Matthew 19: 16-26 is the account of the rich young ruler. Jesus tells him to sell all that he has…knowing that young man is extremely attached to his material possessions. If our modern day definition of happiness includes material wealth (and it does for many of us) then what Jesus is asking this young man to do goes against the definition of happiness. And what about Matthew 16:24? Jesus tells us that anyone who desires to come after Him must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him. That sounds like the complete opposite of our definition of happiness, doesn’t it? Deny myself? Deny myself worldly pleasures? You know what your worldly pleasures are, just as I know what mine are. And we are kidding ourselves if we think we can have Jesus and the world, too. We can’t. We have to make a choice.
2) I can do what I want because Jesus forgives me.
Oh, really? Yes, Jesus forgives. But if we are truly saved, our hearts will be tremendously grieved at causing the Father grief when we sin. I see very little grief over sin. In fact, I see very little conviction about sin. Most of us are living our lives without even giving consideration to the things that grieve the Father in our lives. How incredibly sad He must be at the lack of care we give to the sins in our lives. I know that I, personally, do not take seriously enough the sin I commit every day. I truly want to live my life so that I am not sinning with a carefree attitude that I will be forgiven, but that I am truly grieved at the sin in my life and am working towards sinning as little as possible.
3) I need to be relevant to reach the world.
Matthew 5:13 says that we are the salt of the earth. And how shall the world be seasoned if we lose our flavor? It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. I would say that Christianity in America has completely lost its flavor and needs to be thrown out in its entirety. The relevance lie has brought about nothing but a bunch of “Christians” who need excuses to drink, gamble, wear immodest clothing, and watch movies/listen to music that goes against all that God stands for. If God needs us to be like the world to reach the world, He is a pretty small God. That is a pretty small box for Him. Do I really believe God needs me to be like the world to reach people for Him? It goes against God’s word completely. And if I am like the world, what I am I truly offering to the world? James 1:27 tell us we need to be unspotted from the world. I see an awful lot of spots—in my life and in the lives of those around me. It is sobering to think on.
4) I need to love myself before I can love others.
This is one of the most insidious of all the lies. We hear it everywhere…from popular authors…to magazines…to pop music…to preachers…all are telling us that we cannot be fulfilled, happy, love others, or realize our dreams until we love ourselves. But Jesus tells us we already DO love ourselves, and that we are to love others the way we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). We are not to foster this love, we are to try to rid ourselves of it. Some of you may say “well, I don’t love myself, I hate myself.” Don’t you see that this is a form of love? It really comes down to MYSELF consuming my time, thoughts, ambitions, and goals.
Philippians 2:3 puts it this way: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
The goal is to stop thinking about ourselves at all…to always put others ahead of ourselves. This is SO very hard. But coming to grips with the fact that self-love is not our goal is a start to a new way of living.
5) I need to fulfill my dreams because that is what God wants for me.
No, He doesn’t. This was one I came face to face with just recently. I am a person of great dreams. I have lots on my bucket list. But I was convicted recently (by another of John MacArthur’s sermons!) that my duty is to do the things set before me…please my husband, care for my children, be a good steward of my time and money, etc. If God allows me to live some of my dreams (and He has!) then that is an extra blessing. It isn’t that I deserve it. It is not my personal right to have my dreams fulfilled.
In conclusion, I would just say that this has been very difficult to write. It goes against so much of what we are being taught today. And in writing this, I have been convicted all over again about how these lies have affected me and my family. It is sobering to realize how far Christianity has strayed from the truth of the Gospel and has so watered it down that many who think they are believes will be at the pearly gates telling God they knew Him and he will say He never knew them! (Matthew 7: 21-23)
10 thoughts on “The BIG Lie”
I like your thoughts. Just curious how you balance point 3 with 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.
That’s a great question. I believe that the passage in I Corinthians is talking about things that are not sinful…for example, if I am going to the beach to witness, while I would try to dress modestly, I am not going to go in wedding attire. I am going to try to fit in, as much as I am able to, without going against God’s Word. I do think it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world…I am not an advocate of hiding ourselves in a shelter and being oblivious…but that is very different than partaking of the sins of the world. Does that make sense?
I agreee, engaging in sin is the last thing I would advocate nor do I think Paul is advocating such. I would never become a prostitute so I could witness to the other prostitutes.
I guess my curiosity was roused because you seem to cast a wide net in what you clasify as sins of the world.
I believe that there IS a very wide net of sin in this world. Anything that is done for my own selfish purposes or gain instead of for Christ’s is really sin. That is a broad definition and certainly not a popular one. But Jesus himself said the way is narrow (Matthew 7:13). Those comments alone do not really fit with the American definition of “Christian” today. I think so often we try to say things like “well, I am not convicted of that sin” or “at least I am not as bad as so and so” instead of examining our lives for any way in which we are displeasing the Lord (2 Corinthians 13:5). The Bible is much more specific about sin than most people feel comfortable with, so it is easier just to ignore it. I know you may not agree with everything I am writing, but thank you for reading and for your comments :)
Just came across your blog.
Just wondering. What if someone drinks without doing so for selfish purposes or gain?
Also, I believe we are relevant. We cannot be otherwise if we truly have Good News. Perhaps modern Christianity has merely turned relevance to mean something it is not. Relevance does not mean conformity. The truth is we must be relevant. We must give a message of hope to the hopeless. We have something to offer that no one does.
You said “Philippians 2:3 puts it this way: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.””
The tone in your blog seems to put down these misguided Christians, not esteem others better than himself. Not trying to be mean, just something I noticed.
Thank you for your thoughts, I look forward to hearing your reply.
I think you may be right that the word “relevance” has taken on more of the meaning of “being like or conforming” in modern Christianity. But, quite honestly, while we do need to be relevant to a certain extent, I also believe that God does not need us to reach the lost, but in His sovereign grace, chooses to use us. I also believe that the Word of God teaches that we are sinners and cannot be saved unless we repent and turn away from the world and towards God…a changed life (Romans 12:1-2). So, while a side benefit of trusting in Christ is a new life that brings peace that passeth all understanding, the primary reason we are saved is because God chooses to save us, sinners, who could never be reconciled to God without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not about what I need or want…with the exception of my need to be saved from my sin. Although God, through His amazing grace, offers many blessings when we choose to make Him the Lord of our lives. Of course, I am over-simplifying to make a point. We all have needs – both physical and emotional. But being saved from my sin and being reconciled to the one, true, holy God is the only thing that matters for eternity.
I certainly did not mean to put down anyone, but just provide food for thought. All of us are misguided in one way or another, including myself. I just hope to make people think a little.
As for the drinking…I am not going to judge whether or not someone is sinning while they drink. Do I think every drink is sinful? No. Only God knows a person’s motivation for doing anything. I was simply providing examples of a few things that I have seen become accepted among believers in the last few years that seem to really be excuses to live like they want instead of pleasing God. And that is what it really comes down to…am I living my life to please God? A thought-provoking question for me, for sure. Because the ramifications go far beyond just the obvious sins, don’t they?
Thanks for clarifying. That makes sense. I look forward to reading more.
Interested in your thoughts…
Love this. Thank you.
Very glad you could find time to read at least a little amidst all of your jam-making ;) Can’t wait to see all of those beautiful jars!