By Jeff Arnette
Have you ever said that? I bet a lot of us have never said that! Well, I bet we haven’t said it “out loud” for others to hear. Yet, I would venture a guess that we have all acted that way at one time or another. This way of thinking is almost typical of most Americans. We have grown up thinking that we are entitled to get what we want simply because we are Americans. We have been told so many times that if we want it and work hard, we will get it. I think it goes even further because we believe that we should get what we want. This mindset creates people who try to conform to Christ and Christianity to suit their wants and expectations.
This has affected the way people approach God. It doesn’t matter if it is worship or how to become Christians. We want it our way, and if we don’t get it, we will go in search of a place where we can get it our way. You would think that it was not a big problem, especially since Christians should be Christ-like and selfless. The problem is that the majority of those who call themselves Christian are not Christ-like. Instead, they are narcissistic, selfish, and egocentric.
This has affected the way we accept teachings about difficult subjects. As soon as someone teaches something that does not line up with what we want to believe we leave or at least try to change it. If we want a church that believes that homosexuality is ok, we will go in search of it until we find it. If we want a church that is ok with any number of sins, it is not hard to find a church that will say it is ok. If we want an exciting church, with lots of programs, and lots of things designed to entertain us, it too is not hard to find. I could go on, but I think you get my point. The reason for the thousands of churches in America is because we want a church to cater to our wants and desires.
I have actually had people tell me, “If I don’t get what I want, I will go find someone who will.”
This attitude is anti-Christian and opposes everything Jesus Christ lived and embodied. Church, it is time that we lay down such attitudes and pick up the new life Christ died to give us.
Stop right here and open your bible and read Ephesians 4:20-24. Don’t continue until you have read it for yourself.
Paul’s point is that we should put off the “old self.” The “old self” is the person we were before becoming Christians. That person was corrupt and sentenced to death, but the good news is that in our obedience to Jesus, the old person has died. This is what baptism is meant to teach us (Romans 6:3-4). As Paul said, it is time to be renewed in our thinking, in our minds, and in our spirit. It is time that we put on the new self that is created by God, to be just like Him.
So let me challenge you to learn, think, and grow. Just as important, I want you to focus on becoming more Christ-like in what you do, more Christ-like in how you treat others, and more Christ-like in your willingness to conform your life and actions to the will of God.
Romans 12:2 - “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://centralhaywoodcoc.com/