Friday, September 17, 2010

Will He know you?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 8:18-9:11

TO CHEW ON: "'And like their bow they have bent their tongue for lies.
They are not valiant for the truth on the earth.
For they proceed from evil to evil
And they do not know Me,' says the Lord." Jeremiah 9:3

These chilling words from today's focus verse snag my attention: "And they do not know Me." Why does God claim these people — citizens of Judah and members of His chosen race -- don't know Him? In this case the peoples' lies show that they don't know God in any life-changing way.

These words set me on a search to find other places God talks about our estrangement from Him and His from us.

Jesus echoes the sentiment from Jeremiah in Matthew 7 when he says that those who do the will of God are the ones God recognizes:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23 - emphasis mine).

Jesus also talks plainly about not knowing those who try to come to God in any but the given way - the "narrow gate":

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, 'Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ "(Luke 13:23-27 - emphasis mine).

There is a disturbing trend in modern Christianity to dilute Christ's claim that He is the only way to God. Perhaps it seems too narrow, exclusive, and intolerant. Or maybe it comes from a desire for novelty and finding a new and improved way to connect with God. The result is a tendency toward syncretism, a blending of our worship of God with the practices of other religions. It borrows from various faith streams to make a hybrid way to God, which includes Christ and/or a little meditation, asceticism, mysticism etc. These practices are rooted in Gnosticism and eastern religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism etc.

In this context the warning words of Moses ring across the ages. They apply to the church today:

“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way..." (Deuteronomy 12:29-31a - emphasis mine).

In our quest for a new and improved way to connect with God, to experience spiritual thrills and chills, let's be ever aware of Jesus' words: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

PRAYER: Dear God, at the end of my life I do not want to hear You say, "I do not know you." Please alert me, by Your Spirit, to disobedience and wandering in me. Amen.

MORE: For your consideration...

On the blog Sola Sisters, two sisters who were once involved in New Age religious practice speak from their experience about the syncretistic tendencies they see in the church.

"Mysticism: A Counterfeit Holy Spirit"

"Christian Yoga"

"Fighting for the Faith Interview" — link to a 58+ minute interview with Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio where one of the Sola Sisters tells the story of how she got involved in a type of Christian mysticism.



Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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