CRISIS CHRISTIANS Andy Hollifield 2-19-17
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” That very familiar scripture is Galatians 6:7. I have had this conversation before with some folks I know. In a critical time in their life, they were super religious and wanted to know all about various things God’s word said. At the time, many commitments were made pertaining to prayer and church attendance and so on. I understand the need for the comfort of the Lord in times of trial, sickness, or emotional distress for whatever reason. Ecclesiastes 5:4 says “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. (5) Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” A vow is simply a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment. It doesn’t have to be a big production or anything like that. If you have ever said for example “I would be more active in church if I could do anything that was needed.” If you can carry water, you are needed in your church. I know a lady in a church I have gone to visiting for years that always carries a cup of water to the pulpit right when the preacher gets into the pulpit. It doesn’t matter to her whether it is a visiting preacher or the pastor she is faithful to her job. I have even heard folks say “if I didn’t have to sit with my parent all the time and take care of them, I would be more faithful in church.” Yet when the parent dies, you still don’t see them. I have even heard folks say “when our baby gets here we are going to get in church as a family.” Yet when the baby is in school, they still haven’t made it to church. There are a lot of excuses for not doing what you promise to the Lord but none that are acceptable to him. When I was a kid back in the early ’70’s, the Kingsmen quartet had a song called “Excuses”. It was a comical song that was factual and very thought-provoking. I have seen folk use the excuse of ” by the time we got all of their homework done we just can’t make church on school nights and I can’t keep them up late on Sunday nights.” But they have time to run all of their kids to different ball games and if they do make church on Sunday night they can be found going somewhere to eat afterwards. My point is that we make time for what is important to us. If we don’t have time to go to church it may just be because it isn’t really that important to us. But let trouble come in the family, or sickness, or loss of a job, or some kind of turmoil in our lives and all of a sudden we are faithful and need the prayers of God’s people at least till we get used to our crisis. I don’t mean to sound mean but it is a serious thing to lie to God. Here’s a pretty common one “I would give anything for God to intervene in this situation”. Anything? That is what God heard. You better not make those statements lightly. God will hold you to your word.
The history of the children of Israel was much the same pattern as what I have mentioned. They would serve faithfully for a little while. Then they would begin to let things slide a little. Then they would pretty much forget how God had blessed them. Then he would send the prophets to warn them and compel them to turn back to God. They would get mad at the prophet and refuse to make any changes and say they were all right and he just didn’t understand. Then God would let an enemy take them into bondage or just annihilate them in battle. Then they would start crying out and wondering where God was and how he could let this happen. Then they would say they didn’t see how this could happen to them because they were pretty good people. All the while forgetting that they had turned their back on God and not kept the vows they had made the last time. If you look throughout the bible it is a cycle that they have repeated all throughout their history. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11). If he didn’t let them by with it, he won’t let us by with it either as a nation or as individuals. Psalms 9:17 says “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God.” It doesn’t sound like God has any intention of letting anyone by.
We live in a nation that has forgotten God. One thing that Barrack Obama said that greatly angered me but that I later had to agree with was when he made the statement that “America is no longer a Christian nation”. Our reasons differ but I have come to the conclusion that he had that right. Christian means to be Christ-like. There is no way that we can be accused of being a Christian nation when we not only allow but condone some of the behaviors we do in our country. Every civilization and empire throughout history has crumbled when they embraced many of the same sins that we are currently embracing and promoting as a nation. I have heard it said in times past; “as the home goes, so goes the country.” I believe that to be true. With our homes in turmoil and disarray, with parents hating children and vice versa, over fifty percent of all marriages ending in divorce, sexual sins running rampant and celebrated, alcohol use increasing and celebrated, drug use by kids on the rise, how can we expect anything more of our country? Could it be that over the 240 year history of our country that we as a nation have made vows to God and broken them? I can remember events in the last forty years that would make me believe that is the case. The first Gulf war is one example. Churches were holding special prayer meetings just to pray that God would deliver our troops. Against all odds he did. I know I mentioned this in a recent article but it bothers me that we don’t seem to remember how distressed we were then until God delivered us. September 11, 2001 is another case. The president and both houses of congress called on the nation to pray. On the 12th, they stood on the capital steps in unity asking the country to pray. Yet now, look where we are. I still remember as a kid the end of the cold war and the breaking down of the Berlin wall. Before that I remember hearing in school how dangerous Russia was. I remember hearing about how Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and before that about how Hitler and the Germans moved across Europe. God preserved us through all of those times and we have forgotten him. I am in no way intending for this article to be a political endorsement of any kind. I am just pointing out the fact that God has answered a lot of prayers in the last one hundred years or so that there were no doubt a lot of vows made for. I wonder how many have been kept?
Genesis 6:3 says “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh…” It won’t always strive but right now it is. Right now, God in his mercy is calling on us to repent. I am not talking about as a nation, I am talking about as individuals. I am talking about folks that have made and forgotten or intentionally deferred to keep the promises they made to God. There is a lot of things in our nation that we can’t do much about. But we can keep the commitments we made in crisis. We can honor our vows to a holy God. We need to not be a crisis Christian but just be a Christian. Not just when we are in crisis but at all times. Forty-one times the bible says “his mercy endureth for ever.” The phrase appears in the book of Psalms 33 times. Eleven times the bible speaks of God’s tender mercies. Ten times in Psalms and once in Proverbs. Psalms 40:11 says “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me…” Psalms 51:1 says “…Have mercy upon me O God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” How many times has he done that for you? Psalms 79:8 “O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.” Psalms 103:4 “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” My life many times seemed headed for destruction but God… But God. What a statement; But God. That is what changed everything. Then each time he crowned me with his lovingkindness and his tender mercies.
I have covered extensively the judgment coming for crisis Christians but now that brings up a question. Why would anyone want to only be a Christian during times of crisis when you have a God that will love us like that ALL the time, not just in crisis. I can’t figure that one out. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!