There is a routine in our region regarding church hopping. It is such a familiar spirit that people have a circuit of churches they travel to and repeat it often. Probably the most common occurrence, as the root of this issue, is religious Christians will attend a church for a while until the pastor of the church they are attending discusses a sin or even a topic that is dear to that religious person’s heart and offense arises. Due to the religious heart, that person is unwilling to conform to the Word of God or God’s standard but chooses instead to leave to find another church. The first issue with this situation is the person getting offended, especially when the Word of God is preached. Psalm 119:165 states, “Great peace have they which love thy law (the Word of God), and nothing shall offend them”. This type of behavior is not honored by God. He looks for faithful people to serve within the local church where He plants them as He desires (1 Corinthians 12:18). When a Christian is faithful and planted within the local church that God has called that person to, they can flourish in the things of God (Psalm 92:13). The Bible also describes older saints producing fruit for God in their old age when they are planted within the local church (Psalm 92:14). Every Christian that plants themselves in the things of God and especially the local church should be planted like a tree to receive the water of the Word to produce fruit of their relationship with God (Psalm 1:3). This only comes through being faithful to the kingdom of God, the Word of God, and the local church God has assigned each Christian to. Even as Jesus preached the Word of God He faced the people allowing offense to arise in their hearts and quit following Him (John 6:59-61, 66). As Jesus spoke the truth some believers began to talk about Jesus and His message. This should let pastors know that even when they preach the Word of God correctly there will still be selfish Christians who would rather have their sin than have Jesus Christ as their Savior (1 John 3:4). This should also let believers know that when offense arises it should be cast down within their thoughts and seek the Word of God to change that area of life to be more accurate in walking with God. Many people even after leaving a church unbiblically for selfish reasons will go to the pastor of the new church they are attending and brag on themselves and how spiritual they are but these are unfaithful people (Proverbs 20:6). Another root for this issue within the local church is the whispers of demons in the ears of some of the people to get them to become unfaithful to where God has called them to be planted. This is why it is important to test the spirits that are speaking to each believer to see if they are speaking from God or as a spiritual enemy (1 John 4:1). No matter the root of the issue, Christians are to serve at the local church by being planted and rooted where God says to be planted. All servants of God are required to be faithful and trustworthy (1 Corinthians 4:2). After all, the goal for every Christian is to hear “Well done thou good and faithful servant” as they reach Heaven (Matthew 25:21, 23). May all Christians be determined to know where God has called them to be planted and be faithful in serving Him there.
Being a Christian in any period of time, especially today, requires stability and an element of being sold out to God in every capacity. Any person that bounces back and forth between two opposing sides is unstable in all of their ways (James 1:8). The word unstable is defined as unsettled, disorderly, unruly, or cannot be restrained. To be double-minded is defined as being two-souled. If Christians bounce back and forth between the things of God and the things of the world there is a lack of endurance or loyalty to either side. No one technically has two souls but the picture painted by this example is playing each side for the benefit of one's self. This would more accurately be described as being two-faced. One face smiles at God while having another face that smiles at the sinful nature of the world. God’s side is the only one that brings blessings of peace, joy, love, and stability. Some people find temporary pleasantries in things of the world or sinful things but this pleasure is very short-lived and the next pleasure requires an increase to top the last experienced pleasure. There is coming a day when God the Father will send Jesus to gather His people but the days that this event will take place are described as having sin abound with people living for themselves or for the things of the world and not for God (Matthew 24:36-38). This event will catch some people off guard in not being ready to meet God hence leaving them behind (Matthew 24:39) although it has been discussed and warned about for a very long time. As Jesus also describes this event He reflects the same scenario that took place with Noah. Noah was a righteous man who lived habitually in fellowship with God (Genesis 6:9). Just as Noah preached for years about the coming flood other believers have preached about the coming of Jesus. Noah lived his life not distracted or double-minded in his relationship with God producing the ark of safety that saved not only himself but his family (Genesis 6:8-22; Genesis 7:1). One note, worthy of mentioning here, is the ark was built to God’s guidelines and not Noah’s. If Noah had completed the ark the way he desired would it have been big enough to accomplish what God desired? Would it have even floated? Since Noah was obedient, stable, and sold out to God he was able to reap the fruit of his obedience to God. Christians must be sold out to live for God no matter the cost. They should live each day to give God the glory, honor, and praise that He deserves. Christians must believe, trust, and rely on God (Hebrews 3:12-13). His people must be steadfast until the end (Hebrews 3:14). Those that allow themselves to be double-minded actually harden their hearts or grow numb to the things of God. This creates a separation between God and those individuals to not enter into the blessings God has promised those that believe and obey (Hebrews 3:17-19). May the people of God not be deceived, double-minded, or practice sin (1 John 3:7-8) but may they be holy (1 John 3:9), stable, and endure to the end (Matthew 24:13). Christians should be stable and sold out to God.
Within the Bible belt region of the United States, it is easy to become religious as opposed to obeying God. To go to church once a week, only open the Bible when the preacher is reading from scripture, only pray over meals, or only live like a Christian while at church is not the Christian life that God desires for His people, it is religiosity. Being religious does not constitute a relationship with God. It only proves that a person can have the form of God but deny His power within their life (2 Timothy 3:5; Luke 6:46). Some people may even profess to know God but deny Him by being disobedient (Titus 1:16), which is still religiosity. Christians should live as obedient children of God, not going back to the sinful nature of living, and be holy in everything they do because being holy is the plan God has for His people (1 Peter 1:14-15). Even Jesus expressed the importance of obedience as He stated, “If you love Me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15,23; John 15:10). God loves everyone but He cannot fellowship with everyone. Those that are living in disobedience and sin habitually cannot fellowship with God due to God’s separation from sin (Isaiah 59:2; 1 John 1:6; Romans 3:23). Repenting of committed sins is also obedience to the Word of God through salvation which brings forgiveness and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (Luke 13:3; 1 John 1:9; Romans 6:23; 1 John 2:1; Acts 17:30). After repenting of sin and making Jesus Christ one’s Savior, obedience is still required by living life according to God’s Word (1 John 2:3; John 15:10; Deuteronomy 30:16; James 1:22). Obeying God produces the Fruit of the Spirit within the life of that person (Galatians 5:22-23). Joy is produced in obedience (Psalm 119:1-2). Provision is supplied through obedience (Isaiah 1:19; Deuteronomy 28:2; John 15:7). One of the ways that Christians can prove they love God is through obedience (1 John 5:3; 1 John 2:5; Psalm 119:7). Obedience to the Word of God makes and keeps a person pure (Psalm 119:9). With even these amounts of scripture to display the blessings of obeying God rather than having a religious life that may look good to other people, Christians should see and obey the heart of God. Jesus confronted this very thing in His day but sadly it is still the attitude some Christians have today (Matthew 6:2; Matthew 6:5; Matthew 6:16; Matthew 23:13-15; Mark 7:6). Those that love God will want to obey Him in efforts to express their love to Him. Many people understand this when expressing love for family or friends by obeying their requests for gifts, help, or other needs, yet some Christians do not apply this same concept to their love and obedience to God. Out of any relationship, a relationship with God should be the most important in every aspect, especially in obedience. May all Christians see the importance of their relationship with God and obey Him and His Word. Seek God, walk with Him, know Him, obey Him, and serve Him all the days of your life. God does not want religiosity He wants obedience.