Personal Obedience to Him
No mere "thing" can replace God or private, personal obedience to Him---
"Going to church" cannot
Rubbing a bead cannot
Confessing to a priest cannot
Staring at a relic like a monkey staring at a math problem cannot
A million and one hail Mary's cannot
"Joining a church" cannot
Prayer without obedience cannot
Saying Amen loudly so you are viewed as spiritual cannot
Eating a wafer cannot
Listening to Christian music cannot
Wearing a Christian T-shirt cannot
Going to Christian concerts cannot
Watching Christian movies cannot
Singing "I Surrender All" while surrendering only a portion cannot (Ananias & Sapphira).
No one else can serve God for you---
Not your pastor-(His sermons, altar calls or prayers).
Not your spouse-
Not fellow believers-
Not your favorite Christian authors-
Not your "far superior" Bible translation-
Not your TV preacher-
Not your priest
Not your Eucharist
Not your mass
Not John Calvin-
Not John Wesley-
Not your "far superior" denomination-...
Not the person people "think" you are when you "go to church"-
ONLY YOU---The person you really are (whom God sees when nobody else does) can serve God.
NOT the fictitious YOU that some in this modern church think they are, by surrounding themselves with religious looking and sounding "things".
When religiously minded activities or persons replace sanctification, cleansing, forgiveness and God; they become idols. And when you place these idols on the throne, and allow them to usurp Christ by relying on them to take away sins..."there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). The Jewish believers in the Book of Hebrews were doing this by returning to animal sacrifices in ADDITION to what Christ provided on the cross. If there were no sacrifice for their sins, based on their trust in something OTHER than Christ: then the same is true for us, where our own "replacements for Christ" are concerned. When we allow anything other than Christ to be the great mediator between us and God...we shortchange ourselves by and through our idolatry. And henceforth, we place a barrier between ourselves and Christ. Why? Because we put "things" on the throne, in place of Christ. Our "things" are not on the throne...Our "things" didn't die, resurrect and ascend for us. But when we
pretend like they have and hereby lay demands on others...we cut off all intimacy and the intended effects of His sacrifice for our sins.
Idols can't sanctify... Idols can't forgive...idols can't serve as a mediator between you and God. Idols can only rob you of what authentic sanctification in holiness originally intended to give you.
Now that we know what this usurping of Christ looks like objectively: how does it look subjectively?
The subjective effects:
These religious minded "things" become mere distractions and counterfeit methods of true, biblical and Spirit-led sanctification. Constantly surrounding yourself with religious looking things and activities, does NOT and will NOT, EVER replace personal cross bearing or sanctification. Just because everybody around you is fooled, doesn't mean God is. When this is your main goal (to be merely "regarded" as spiritual by your peers) you trade the authenticity of a life lived in Christ, for a form of religion. And in turn, you start believing your "form" is the real deal JUST because everyone around you is convinced. In other words: You become content with a lie. THAT is NOT what Paul had in mind when He said to be "content in all things". When the applause and admiration of others becomes your main focus; you have turned THEM into your God and YOURSELF into an idolater...and you have received your reward. Which is a shabby one at that.
A person such as this may "think" these "things" are "serving God for them"; like a dialysis machine that filters poison from the blood of a person with kidney disease.----Do we really think these religious trappings, people, church attendance and spiritual mumbo jumbo inserted into daily conversation or ritualistic adherence is somehow sanctifying, regenerating and transforming us? Only God can regenerate, transform, renew and filter out the toxicity in your spiritual bloodstream, through the sanctification of His Spirit. Preoccupation with spiritual trappings and religious fakery, without personal obedience to Christ, filter out NOTHING but the authenticity of Christ. This ironically leaves you with all of the inner poison that True Christianity and Discipleship would've purged. This type of counterfeit Christianity is all about "getting credit" for something it's not. But at the Judgment Seat, it'll get credit for what it was. The only thing the "Machine of the Modern Laodicean
Church" filters out... is True authenticity in Christ.
Do we REALLY think our spiritual dialysis machine of modern Churchianity is filtering out ANYTHING other than true devotion to Christ?
If you are using "spiritual" things as a means to remain in a state of perpetual, self deception---all so you can feel better about your disobedience to live a life fully in Christ....all so you can pay off, stroke and coddle your convicted conscience because of your refusal to bear your cross...STOP. You may be able to fool some of the people some of the time---and on occasion, for a time; you may even be able to fool ALL of the people ALL of the time...But you can NEVER, not even ONCE, fool God ANY of the time. He may appear to be silent now, but one day, He will break His silence when He infiltrates our reality and invades our personal space---- this space will be invaded the way we REALLY were in this life...when nobody was looking. THAT'S the person He's going to invade and THAT'S the person who is going to be subjected to His all seeing scrutiny. NOT the self-projected parody and fictitious character we so often project on others. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat
of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil". 2 Corinthians 5:10.
Whatever it is you are trying to distract yourself from by adding all of these religious "things", that have replaced Christ: Be not fooled...God is NOT distracted nor is He impressed by your religiously driven dethroning of Christ. It's the UN-distracted YOU that will be judged. NOT the "distracted" you, that is just a fictitious version of the real YOU. Chances are, the hole that you are filling with religious "things" is just a way to escape repentance. It's just a preoccupation of religious "things" intended to bait, stroke and coddle your conscience by surrounding yourself with "things" that have the "appearance" of Christ...but are not Christ at all. Be not deceived. Or in this case: Be not Self-Deceived.
Become REAL and AUTHENTIC. The destiny of a Tare is a fiery one. Matthew 13:39-41
Ask Him to Examine you; to test and search your mind and heart. Psalm 26:2-- Don't be afraid of what he'll expose. YOU already know what's there anyway...it's the reason you have preoccupied yourself with so many "spiritual distractions" in the first place.
Humble yourself in repentance and receive His grace. Let the cry of your heart be "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me". Psalm 51:10
Replacing Christ with things that only have the appearance of Him...but are not Him at all...is just as much idolatry as bowing to a pope. Tread lightly.
Don't become like the Israelites who formed the golden calf. Did you ever notice how they didn't call the golden calf Baal or Ra? No, they called it "the God who delivered us out of Egypt (Exodus 32:8). Oh, the many golden calves of the modern church! We have mistaken mere"things" (idols) as the God who delivered us out of Egypt... and in so doing we have become idolaters. Soon Moses (Jesus) will be coming down from the mountain. May we repent before He does.
There is no such thing as a "sanctified idol". An idol is an idol...no matter what "sanctified" name you give it. The modern church is like a pet owner who names his pet after a famous person. Everyone knows the animal isn't really that person...it's just named after them. And so it goes with the modern church's "idol replacement program". It really has nothing to do with the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ...it's just named after Him.
Behold all of the "holy golden cows" masquerading about as Jesus Christ!