DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
AN ACCEPTABLE OFFERING
Without going into a theological debate about why God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s, let’s just agree that it had something to do with obedience and attitude. This causes me to think about how serious we should be in presenting the correct offering with the right attitude in our daily worship. It is difficult to comprehend but God is not moved to respond to everything He hears and sees. He is so perfect that He cannot go against His own omniscience and cannot be coerced into making deals or compromising His own standards. Since God responds to faith and the “state” of the heart, He will not approve of gifts that try to deceive Him or request that are tarnished with carnal motives. What does this have to do worship? I think more than we consider! Just because God listens to us sing songs and pray does not mean He will count it as genuine and bless them with His answers. People all over the world constantly lift up praises with all types of different ideas and reasons (and God hears them all) but if their concept of God is not connected with the “TRUE” God and the correct interpretation of His word – their religion is in vain.
Isaiah chapter 29, verse 13 talks about people saying how much they love God but actually it is only words. Mathew chapter 15 and verse 8 and 9 repeats this message, “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips but their HEART is far from me. But IN VAIN they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Remember Christ in Mathew chapter 23 absolutely blasted the religious world and proclaimed that on the outside everything looked fine and decent but their heart and spirit needed to be changed into the nature of Christ. The Pharisees were constantly reading the scriptures and conducting a strict lifestyle of legalism but Jesus rebuked them because their ideas about serving God were based on pride and human intelligence.
What does that mean for today? It means that organizations have always attempted to develop philosophies and rules that are incorporated into spiritual laws and are taught as the word of God. But these Religious ideas are only a shadow of the true church as we realize the counterfeit spirit loves the pomp and ceremony of assemblies that are based on political agendas. People are always looking for shortcuts and easy formulas that can bypass the faith and patience principals of God’s divine order. For example relativism is slowly creeping into every facet of life and is especially targeting the church. This worldview is very dangerous as it proclaims that any type of view or religious deed is received gladly by God – but this is a deadly deception. To narrow it down even more, even in the world of Protestants and Catholics this philosophy stands boldly to endorse any form of scripture interpretation or doctrine as relative to the conviction of the individual. But there is a huge difference between worshipping in spirit and truth and just going through the motions of dead works with biblical error. There cannot be many different interpretations of truth – there is only one truth and one way because there is only one Jesus! There are not ten thousand prophets, kings or idols that can offer eternal salvation – Jesus Christ is the only bridge that provides the connection between God and mankind. Let us look at another example of rejected offerings, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and driven out demons in your name and done many mighty works in your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from me, you who act wickedly (disregarding my commands).” (Mathew 7:21-23 Amplified.) God does not compromise – He knows what is real.
Of course we realize that offerings to false gods have no heavenly significance but many forget that even Christians are not guaranteed that everything they give is accepted. Just because people say the name of Jesus or speak the religious language does not mean that it is genuine because all that glitters is not gold. An entire congregation can sing songs while daydreaming about what’s for lunch or the person standing in front of them and even though the songs may sound good – it is not true worship. The same is true with repetitious prayers that cry and put on a show so that everyone can see how spiritual someone is or even fasting that is done to prove how humble and holy they are. Our motives behind our obedience will determine the fate of our rewards and crowns and that revelation is developed in the secret place alone with God.
There will be some whose contributions may seem small in the eyes of the world but will be significant in the God’s Kingdom. The same can be said of those who accumulate impressive religious accomplishments only to find their works were burned. “If anyone builds upon the foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw. The work of each (one) will become (plainly, openly) known (shown for what it is); for the day (of Christ) will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this foundation (any product of his efforts whatever) survives this test, he will get his reward. But if any person’s work is burned up (under the test), he will suffer the loss (of it all, losing his reward), though he himself will be saved, but only as (one who has passed) through fire.” (I Corinthians 3:12-15 Amplified.)
I am reminded of how reverent we come to the communion table and how serious we consider this time of being with God. We examine our conscience and repent of our sins because we do not want any sin in our heart before we go behind the veil with Him. We humble ourselves in holy fear before Him and focus on the great price that He paid with His blood and body so we could be made righteous. This is a profound responsibility that is crucial for walking in the spirit and I believe we should have this sober mindset when we worship. We talk and sing about going into the Holy of Holies and coming into the tangible presence of God and must remember how the priest had to prepare their heart before they entered in. May we examine our heart and ask God to cleanse us from sin even before we come into the sanctuary. May we pray on our way to church and prepare our conscience to meet Him and seek His face. May we pray that He will come to us as we purpose to draw near to Him. Being made clean will release our joy and freedom in His presence. Many come into the service bound with the stress of sin and these heart conditions hinder the atmosphere with the spirit of heaviness. We cannot make ourselves clean but we can allow ourselves to be made clean in Christ Jesus. How could the condition of our heart NOT have a direct effect on our anointing and the presence of God in our thoughts and conversation? How could our attitudes and motives not influence our prayers and worship? May we bow before Him with a broken and contrite conscience in the spirit of gratitude and present to Him an offering of adoration that will be accepted as a sweet smelling fragrance.