I recently seen a Verizon Wireless commercial where a family went back and forth between what type of ice cream they should collectively buy. The spokesmen than intervene with a solution of bundling, this way each person can enjoy the different flavors they want without compromise. This led to everyone having the type of ice cream they wanted and loved. I then wondered is Christianity the same way? Because, people from different walks of life holds the title of being a Christian, however, not every Christian have the same views. Therefore, are we all just picking flavors of God we like?
As a Christian I often thought of serving God as a means to blessings. But, knowledge has taught me that God isn’t just a vending machine. Though He may allow things to happen that seem unfair we know it is for a greater purpose. But some Christians are not like that. They may not want to see God as jealous, or wrathful so it can lead to them picking and mixing flavors around of God that they want. The best depiction I can think of, with a group of like-minded individuals were the early day believers. They were those who came together after the resurrection of Jesus. (Acts 2:44-47) they sold their possessions, communed together and searched the scriptures day and night. These people were hungry for the Lord and their appetite grew as did their numbers. Their hearts were singular and worked as one. If Christianity is the product of those who follow Christ, how have we come to this moment in our interpretation of Christ that spans in the thousands in church denominations, not to mention the personal views of each individual?
A new religion wasn’t the agenda of Christ. However, here is how Christianity is today in multiple sects.
* Group A says come before God in holiness showcasing purity. It then gets interpreted as only ‘exterior work’ needs to be done, such as, long skirts, no makeup, clean cut hair etc. However if you only highlight the outside, people don't live in freedom but conformity.
* Group B then says come before God with your heart. Then that gets interpreted as, only the ‘interior work’ needs to be done, so wear and look as you like, such as ripped jeans, colored hair, tattoos etc. However if you only highlight the inside, people live with the idea that their individuality can't meet compromise.
* Then Group C says come with love, which gets interpreted as ‘just love the person’. We will love you regardless of your inside or out, sexual preference, or lifestyle. However if you only highlight love without correction, you misrepresent love.
So, we gravitate to the group we feel more obliged to. We look for the flavor that taste better and is more to our liking. Therefore, Is Christianity absolute or partial?
When reading the chapter of Acts, I watched the evolution of the church. The Christian movement underwent so many challenges. The message of the Kingdom and Salvation no longer had exclusivity to just Jews but also Gentiles (Non-Jewish person). There were many oppositions when it came to the Messiah and what practices to continue. But what surprised me the most were the believer’s boldness and appetite to serve the Lord. The characteristics of these new believers were to share and not see anything as their own. And even when religious leaders tried to stop the expansion of this teaching, Peter and John stated,
“Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
People sometimes will only try the flavors they have seen and heard. This become their only known fact of God. Therefore, if they experience the God of healing, love, grace, or prosperity that’s who they serve from their own understanding. But God has so many parts to Him that we limit. We want so much to live our lives as we see fit wanting to talk more about what the word of God isn’t rather than what it is. We have an “only God can judge me” mentality, that we make the practice of Christianity synonymous to a restaurant menu, order what we want and send back what we don’t like. Being in this western world we have become so comfortable with Sunday morning way of worship. That anything less than perfect from this isn’t God. We have turned Christianity to a membership club when it was literally founded as an orphanage for the lost, alien, distressed, widowed, and discouraged all to be adopted into a new son-ship. This new-found freedom was to be shared with others. But instead we have allowed hypocrisy in our churches, because you can’t claim Christ to be a living God who is true but hold partiality to the word of God who in-turn is God (John 1:14), (John 1:1).
Stop serving God in your own understanding. (2 Peter 3:16) We can’t bundle God in a plan in order to fit our needs. But we need to adjust our needs to the God we serve. Seeing Him as one not being partial to a specific group but searching for His true fruit bearers willing to sacrifice WHATEVER it may be for His unfailing love.