You have heard the mom warn her child...
"Don't touch the stove! It is hot! You will burn yourself if you touch it!"
In the first book of the Bible God warned...
"Don't eat from the tree in the middle of the garden! Don't even touch it, or you will die!" [Genesis 3:3]
And die spiritually, they did.
Because they touched "that" which God said not to touch.
The church seems to touch many things that they shouldn't - lust, greed, dishonesty - and often in the name of justification.
"We need a new church building."
"We can't afford to pay our taxes."
"We need to protect our people."
In the late '90s I attended a pentecostal church. I wasn't on staff, but I was a member. The church leaders decided to build a new facility vs. remodeling the existing building and I attended a membership meeting to discuss the details. Although the church planned to spend 3 million dollars on the new church they ended up spending over 5 million! But what I remember the most about the project was a conversation regarding the steeple. Members got angry because the leadership had considered NOT adding a steeple to the budget. But in the end, the membership decided to pay for a steeple vs. making the building wheelchair accessible.
Yes, you heard that right. A steeple instead of access for people with disabilities.
This week some friends of mine told me about the church they recently left. The church spent a lot of money on a new parking lot, complete with security cameras and monitors. But the same church couldn't afford to help a local family with some groceries.
Pavement instead of food for hungry people.
This week my mother gave me some cash towards a road trip. As she handed me the money that was intended for travel expenses she looked at me and said...
"Paul, please use integrity in how you spend this money."
I thought of my mother's words during the entire drive. I wanted to make sure I honored her by using the financial gift with the utmost integrity.
God has given us so many promises of blessing IF we obey His Word.
And His warnings...
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." [Galatians 6:7]
If we touch the things that God has told us to avoid, we will reap destruction. Things in our life will not go well.
But, if we walk in the ways of God, we will reap life. We will walk in the blessing and protection of God - no matter what comes our way.
Repent. Turn from your wicked ways.
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin..."
[2 Chronicles 7:14]
"Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord..."
"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world."
[Matthew 5:8 | Message]