Just about everyone has had a praying grandmother or family minister… perhaps your parents where Christians or maybe a teacher, neighbor or friend that had a spiritual connection with God. Very few American’s grow up absent of some type of Christian influence. Still God religion and going to church has become a thing of the past for many in today’s world. The reasons for this are as numerous as the waves of the sea. Let’s take a look at the institution of church. Religious denominations are as plenteous as are restaurants and pizza parlors in every city in America. Many ask, so which one is right? Then there are those unfortunate incidents that scandal or some sort of hurtful situation takes place within a church. It is unfortunate that there are those rare occasions when there have been spiritual casualties in the pews. Additionally, it can also be true that the discouraged simply give up, or the offended become unwilling to forgive.
One thing is for certain, we are in error when we expect that there will be perfection in congregations that are comprised of hurting, broken and imperfect people. Aside from these types of problems many have simply abandoned God, faith and the church to pursue other self-centered interest. Sunday worship services have been replaced with extra-curricular activities, sports, boating or the golf-course have taken over the sacred Sunday morning time slot.
Buddhism, Christianity, Hindu, Islam, Judaism, various forms of paganism and a host of lesser known religions are practiced throughout the world. Humanity seeks to know who is God, and wonders can He really be known? So we should ask, do our churches help people to discover God? Does the religion we practice enable a person to develop a meaningful relationship with Him? Agnostics believe that nothing can be known of God, while Atheists of course do not believe He exists. What is your religion or church doing to change their minds?
Christianity in its original form doesn’t fit into the usual landscape of variety religions. The empty tomb of Christianity stands in great contrast to endless list of world religions. No other religion in the entire world has had their leader to be resurrected from death. Christianity stands apart on so many levels. The message of Jesus was dramatically different than what the people of those biblical times had grown accustomed to. Unconditional love and forgiveness for everyone was something new.
Jesus said: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew Chapter 5 Verses 43-45 KJV
The humility of Jesus was markedly different than the religious leaders of the day. His actions were filled with care, love and concern for everyone regardless of who they were. Jesus’ compassionate invitation was so compelling to the crowds that gathered on those Judean hill sides. He said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28 & 29 KJV
Today it is difficult to find what you are looking for if you are not sure what you’re looking for. Finding the right religion or church has certainly been challenging for most, much less knowing God in a meaningful way. Jesus remedied this problem for us. He himself said in Luke chapter 19 verse 10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Wow! Did you know that Jesus is looking for you? You don’t have to hope to stumble upon a mere religion, or settle for a chance encounter at some church or religious center. You can invite the one who is actively looking for you to come in!
Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me. He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne.” Revelation Chapter 3 Verses 20 & 21 Amplified Bible
Jesus, will never end His pursuit of you. Even now, as you’ve read these scriptures you can be assured He is looking for you. The question is, are you looking for Him? Let me encourage you to give yourself to Him. You will find the one who is looking for you, is just what you’ve been looking for!
The writer is the senior pastor of Solid Rock Pentecostal Church of God, 2745 State Route 29 N., Sidney.