Faking Christianity - News Article from 2006

Faking Christianity
Bishop D. S. Briggs
Rehoboth Covenant Ministries International
(919) 926 - 9672

Question: “I feel like I’m just going through the motions with God. I lift and clap my hands on Sunday because everyone else does, but I don’t feel anything like I used to. How can I get back to a real relationship, like I had before?”

Response: In the story of the Prodigal Son(s) found in St. Luke 15, we find two sons who could be defined as prodigals. One was prodigal in his actions and the other was prodigal in his attitude. The son who went down and spent his inheritance on riotous living eventually became destitute and alienated from what he knew. At his lowest point when he came to himself he rehearsed the statement he would give to his Father “I am no longer worthy to be called your son make me as one of thy hired servants” yet when he returned home, the Father would not let him utter these final words “make me as one of thy hired servants.” Why? Because even though he felt like he was no longer worthy of the Father-Son relationship, the Father knew that although he may have stopped behaving, and stopped believing, he still belonged, in spite of how he felt.

Beloved, it is a dangerous thing to give into our feelings, especially when it comes to the things of God. We are challenged in Hebrews 12:6 "to walk by faith and not by sight." Our feelings can easily be manipulated, misinterpreted and massaged to work against the things that the Lord is trying to develop in our lives to produce lasting fruit for His glory. Every storm is seasonal and every trial is temporary but your relationship with God is for eternity, in spite of how we may feel for a moment. Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV declares “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”

When we give into our feelings we are making a contractual agreement to live beneath the level of victorious living that the Lord has ordained for our lives. Feelings if left unchecked become the handholds and footholds that the Adversary uses to entrench himself in your life to establish a stronghold. Suffice it to say that many would not be dealing with the strongholds they now face in their life, if they had not given place and authority to their feelings. So if the handholds and footholds can not be established, neither can the stronghold.

There is a major difference in Churchianity and Christianity. With God there is no faking it until you make it. Either you have it or you don’t. One can not truly “fake” Christianity, but they can fake churchianity really well. Churchianity is anything we do in the name of God that has become disconnected from God’s intent for our lives. In essence the form takes precedence over the function. This can be seen in the worship of buildings that can not save, glorification of committees that do not function spiritually and correctly, rigidly following a program or bulletin without leaving room for the Holy Spirit to flow freely, or as you pose the outward manifestations of worship when one’s heart is moved away from the relationship it has with God Is it possible that what you view as going through the motions has become a new tradition in your worship experience with God? Certain actions observed in modern day worship …the lifting of hands, shouting of praise, laying on of hands, speaking in unknown tongues, can become a model of Churchianity if uprooted from their Biblical context or separated from it’s true meaning to the worshipper.

To insure you keep that precious gift within you, let me suggest the following plan of action:

The thing we must do is to seek God. Isaiah 55:6 declares “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” The statement raised by the Angel of the Lord on Resurrection Morning has powerful relevance for your dilemma. The angel declares in St. Matthew 28:5 “Fear not ye; For I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.” The Angel knew that they were seeking Jesus. To some this may sound simplistic but to me it is profound and relevant in today’s society. Because we are a generation that is constantly seeking a sign, but not the Savior…a miracle, but not the Master…Deliverance without becoming a Disciple, anointing without the Almighty, and joy without Jesus! Jesus himself declared to those that would hear in St. Luke 11:29 ESV “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Even in our moments of worship are we truly seeking God or are we simply seeking what God gives? A constant refrain in our fellowship is that if we would seek the heart of God we can always get what is in His hand.

Seeking God must be a priority in your life. I submit it must be the number one priority in your life. Until that is number one everything else will suffer from being out of order. How can we honestly declare like Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane “Thy will be done” if we truly do not know what His will is? We will never know what His will is, if we do not send time with Him and His word. As we spend time in fellowship and communion with Him, the connection is strengthened and our commitment inevitably grows deeper. The Apostle Paul states “that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Philippians 3:11) Knowing God comes from first seeking after God. The Word of God declares “Seek and ye shall find.” Seek the Lord, Saints.

Seeking God is not a Sunday only proposition, it is a daily devotion. We love Him because He first loved us. (I John 4:19) We spend quality time with those we love. We speak the same language and embrace the same goals. We should set aside a daily time of devotions with God. This is a quiet time where you can be alone with God and communicate the innermost parts of your heart. Reading the Scriptures, singing songs, praying, and most importantly listening to God deepens our relationship with God and ensures we are not merely going through the motions.

There is a well known song by Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson that is entitled The Closer I Get to You. One of the verses goes:

The Closer I get to you
The more you make me feel
By giving you all I’ve got
Your Love has Captured me.

How appropriate would that be beloved, if this described our affection, attraction, and attachment to God. I humbly submit, that if you seek Him like this, with your whole heart you will find Him every time.

I.) Seek God Through His Word

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to they word.” (Psalm 119:6 KJV) Many today seek diligently after a spoken word from God but reject the written word of God they have before them. They run from church to church and prophet to prophet trying to get a deeper, stronger, life transforming word, yet ignore the 774,746 words contained in the Holy Bible. They listen to mortal flesh expound upon the Scriptures, but dare not go to the Scriptures themselves. May I be as bold as to suggest that this is laziness concealed by a host of spiritual sounding excuses. When we read the Word of God it is to know more about the loving God that inspired the book to be written, not a mere template to get more material possessions. The Psalmist states “thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” It is through the Word of God we are drawn to become more like him, transforming our minds, disciplining our body, and establishing our goings. It is God’s Word that strengthens us, sustains us and succors us. It is God’s Word that Jesus declared would never pass away.

II.) Seek God Through Our Worship
“For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” (St John 4:24 NLT) The act of worship does start at the opening strains of the introit, or with the opening notes of the choir. Worship is not dependent on whether or not the musician is on time to play. Worship starts the moment God opens your eyes to see a brand new day, allows you to function in this realm to accomplish His will. It is more than praise but it is the sign that one has truly connected and committed to the Lord. It is the outpouring of a love affair of your soul with God. When true worship occurs you can not cut it off because the bulletin calls for the welcome or announcements. Those who do not worship in private will never worship in public. If you do not worship at home, you will not worship when you come to church.
There are those who can only worship when all is well in their life. This is conditional worship that I contend is not worship at all but praise for a safe season of life. When your worship is genuine you can worship your way through whatever you are dealing with. Rick Warren writes in The Purpose Driven Church “In genuine worship God’s presence is felt, God’s pardon is offered, God’s purposes are revealed, and God’s power is displayed.” Saints of God you must have more than a “yet praise” (Habakkuk 3:18) you must have an “in the midst of” worship! (St. Matthew 8:2)

III.) Seek God Through His Witnesses(s)

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of His coming back again is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25) One of the chief purposes of our fellowshipping together as fellow sojourners in the way of God is to encourage each other in the things of God. We are to help each other along the way and strengthen each other to maintain our faith. This is why no matter how you may feel you must continue to press your way to the household of faith. The devil would do his best to disconnect you during your time of not feeling what you think you should to send you off wandering in search of a feeling and not God. This is what plagues many “church hoppers.” Through our fellowship with one another we are to build each other up in our most holy faith. In moments like you are now experiencing you need to bond together with fellow believers who have been where you currently are. It is through this process of caring and sharing together that we get stronger. Proverbs 27:17 NLT states “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.”

We Seek God for:

I.) Direction
A.) Way to Go
B.) How to Go
C.) When to Go
II.) Development…Planned progress in pursuit of the plan
A.) Spiritual and Secular
B.) Personal and Professional
C.) Ministry and Mindset
III.) Discipline
A.) Correction
B.) Control
IV.) Deployment
A.) Let Go
B.) Launch Out

““Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it” Hebrews 2:1 ESV

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