Want to meet lots of new people in a cool, concert-like atmosphere? Want to be a part of an elite club that comes with awesome benefits? Want to fulfill all your financial dreams and get out of debt? Want to know how to get God to work for you? If so, the bless-me club is for you!
Sadly, this has been the sales pitch for some of the modern-day American Christian churches. Current day Christianity is often viewed like a benefit package that comes with a job. Somehow, when the psalmist wrote “Praise the Lord oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits … ” I don’t think the bless-me club is what he had in mind.
Some people are willing to sign up for Christianity because of the “perks” that come with it. It’s almost like signing up for a prestigious club. The perception of the individual is an elitist group that has lots of fun, meets new people, appears to be close to God and has the assurance of Heaven after paying club dues. The biggest question often asked is, “What can I get out of this?” Prayers can often be self-focused with this individual: “Bless me, bless me, bless me. Do this for me, do that for me.” It’s the perception that God was created for us instead of us being created for Him. This person sees God as his personal little genie. We sing and pray to Him in exchange for three magical wishes. “God I want, God I want, God I want …” And when we don’t get it, we get bitter with God for not answering our wish list, like He’s being disobedient to us.
“God, I did your little dance, I sang your little song, so where are my blessings?”
If we truly want the presence of God in our lives and to understand the REAL benefits of Christianity as described in Psalm103, then the first thing we must do is change our perception of WHO GOD IS. Like Lucifer, when we make God too small in our eyes we become filled with self-centeredness and pride, and we’ll never be the proper host for God’s glory. In fact, Scriptures tell us over and over again that God turns His back on pride.
Who is God? There are so many words to describe Him. I’m just going to barely scratch the surface. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. He is the truth, and the truth sets us free. He is holy and righteous. He made a way for salvation. He is the light of the world, and no darkness can preside within him. If no darkness can live in Him, then why do we think we can knowingly live in darkness (sin) and yet call upon Him to manifest His presence on us and in us? 1 Corinthians 6:19 states that our bodies are the temple of the Lord. He purchased us by His blood so that we are no longer our own. If we call ourselves Christians, then we truly belong to Him.
We ask Him to move, but do nothing to prepare Him for the move. We must prepare the soil if we expect God’s seed to grow in us. God will give us the seed, but we are the soil tenders. We want God to do the work, but we’re unwilling to meet him halfway. We sit in our comfy seats while we wish to watch Him act to our will and desires. We forget that He is the God who created us and called us for HIS glory—not our own. Too many of us are spiritual teenagers. We’ve become very self-focused and we think the world revolves around us. It’s as if there’s a constant movie playing and we’re the star. We’ve become rebellious to many of the things of God. We search and fight for our independence while still wanting to be under Daddy’s roof and care. We want His blessings but not His discipline or rules. We’ve lost respect for Him.
One night I was watching the Disney animated movie The Lion King when this message came to mind. Symba (the son) was caught up in pride and arrogance about his inheritance to the great king, knowing one day he too was going to be king. He thought the world revolved around him. Uncle Scar used Symba’s pride and arrogance to tempt him into disobeying his father and to go into the elephant graveyard. Like many of today’s spiritual teenagers, Symba ignored his father’s warning and it almost cost him his life. Thankfully, Daddy was there to save him at the last minute.
On his way back to Pride Rock, Symba accidentally stepped in his father’s paw print. It was then Symba realized how BIG his Daddy really was. You could see it on his face as he suddenly realized the power, majesty, and authority of his father. He gained a new respect for Dad at that moment.
Some of us need to step in God’s footprint. We need to see how tiny we are and gain a new respect for the majesty and authority of our Lord. Some of us are like little Symbas who have been tempted to run off into the elephant graveyard despite Daddy’s warning. Why? Because we’ve lost our respect for whom God really is. I pray it doesn’t take a catastrophic event in our lives to regain our respect for Him and to see Him with all the honor, respect, authority and majesty He deserves.[Matthew Eldridge is a husband, father, writer, musician, teacher and poet. He is also the Producer of Rock-it Television.]