Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014 “A Salve For the Conscience”

“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25: 44-45)

Good Morning My Friends in the Lord!

Over the years, I have encountered many people of faith…strong men and women who have dedicated themselves to a life lived for Christ. They are powerful prayer warriors, many of whom I feel quite free to call upon if I have a particular prayer request, for I know they will be faithful in joining me in my particular petition to God before His great Throne of Grace. That is a true blessing. Quite truthfully, however, I have also encountered many “Sunday Christians” who wear what appears a veneer of faith but who do little to nurture that relationship with Christ much beyond occasional attendance at Sunday worship and from time to time dropping a dollar in the collection plate. I am not putting myself up as some sort of judge here. That’s God’s purview to examine their hearts, but evidence seems to suggest a lack of commitment on the part of many nominal “believers”. It is not surprising that in the passage referenced above from Matthew’s gospel that on the day we give account of our lives before the Judge of every human heart, the  statement Jesus makes is answered with a question, and it is the same question that both the dedicated Christian and the undedicated “believer” asks of Jesus. That question is, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes, or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” How interesting that both the dedicated and the undedicated would ask the same question! The dedicated Christians would respond with action because they saw the need and were in constant contact with the One they had pledged to emulate in their lives, not recognizing that it was He that they were serving…a blessing> The undedicated didn’t even see the need, or chose to ignore it, again not realizing it was Christ himself that they were ignoring.  casual Christianity is a contradiction in terms. I think of it as sort of like the days when small pox inoculations were administered. You were given just enough of the virus that you wouldn’t catch it, but build up an immunity to it. For some, a relationship with Christ is little more than an occasional prayer and a holiday visit to church. This is not what Christ desires. E.M. Bounds saw it like this:

“Little praying is a kind of make believe, a salve for the conscience, a farce and a delusion.” 

Little prayer, little commitment, little service may soothe the conscience when it comes to spirituality, but it is really a delusion. Jesus said it like this: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Anything less than that is a farce and a delusion. Let’s pray!

O Holy One; anything less than our best is a farce and a delusion. Let our love for you manifest itself in a robust life of prayer and service, for You are worthy of all we have to give. Teach us the joy of service and the blessing of committed pray. This we ask in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen

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