Sunday, April 6, 2014

Worthlessly Praising Jesus

In many Christian churches this Sunday, as most Sundays, people will sing and speak praises to God and to Jesus, the one Whom God sent. And most will do so with their hands raised up towards the sky.

Of course, God is not literally "up in the sky" and while numerous other theological problems exist in these churches, there's something else fundamentally wrong with simply raising one's hands, as its practiced there.

Most will praise Jesus, and will praise God, but will do little else. And that's a problem, if you believe what Jesus said.

Most will praise Jesus, forgetting that this same Jesus said, "My words will not pass away."

Most say “Lord, Lord!” but forget that this means “Master, Master!” and we must obey our Master’s teachings.

Most will raise their hands and praise Jesus with great emotion, but when the emotion fades, so will their fervor.

The problem with merely praising God and praising Jesus is that Jesus' words call for us to act on behalf of God - act constantly, consistently and until it HURTS (but HEALS) us.

The bottom line? If we raise our hands in PRAISE OF JESUS while in Church, we must then become the very HANDS OF JESUS when we leave the Church building.

Jesus calls us to put his teachings into practice, lest we build our houses of faith on the shifting sands of mere words, empty praise and a false assurance in our own salvation.

A weak faith built on arrogant self-assurance of our ultimate reward by God can only lead to a worthless, works-free faith that fails to recognize that we will be judged based upon our works.

Simply praising Jesus with our eyes closed in ecstasy, hands waving with thousands of others, is insufficient – as insufficient as claiming to be "saved" for all eternity while in a similar ecstatic state, but keeping our eyes closed to others' needs when we leave the Church building.

Jesus was chosen by God as a spokesman but also as an example for us to follow completely. If we fail to follow his words we cannot claim to be his disciples.

Our eyes cannot be closed nor can our hands be clenched shut when we approach God. Jesus did all he could to open our eyes and stretch out our hands when he was ministering among us.

He preached (and demonstrated) kindness, and a deep love for God and for other people. He preached peace in the face of violence. He preached an absolute service to others. He preached a challenging faith that makes us look outside of ourselves and our own self-interest to make others' lives better.

Surely, we must raise our hands in praise of God our Creator to thank Him for the gifts He granted us at birth. These gifts include the ability to obey Him and the example in Jesus by whom He shows us we may follow to know His will.

But God does not seek vain words or empty praise.

Let us instead use those hands for more than mere praise, but to bring God's Kingdom to fruition in THIS life for our fellow human beings.

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